Tree That Bear Climbed, The
Everyone knows about the house that Jack built, but this is The Tree That Bear Climbed. What makes this tree so fascinating to bear? Starting with the roots that anchor the tree, this chain of events story in cumulative verse explores many different things that help a tree stand tall. It also lends itself to further discussion with fun repetition and detailed picture clues, stimulating a child’s curiosity. Why does the bear climb the tree and what happens when he arrives at his goal?

Written by Marianne Berkes
Illustrated by Kathleen Rietz

32 pg, 10 X 8.5, Ages 3-8, Grades PK-3
Lexile: AD 450, AR: NQ, RC: TBD, F&P: K
Hardcover 9781607185284 $17.95  
Spanish Hardcover 9781607186793 $17.95  
Paperback 9781607185376 $9.95  
Spanish Paperback 9781628554267 $9.95  
EBook 9781607185659 $6.95  
Spanish EBook 9781628551518 $6.95  
Keywords:   rhythm, physical adaptation, adapted story, House That Jack Built, plant parts, plant-animal interaction, life science, cumulative text, plant body parts, basic needs: plants, plant/animal interaction
Animals in the book:   squirrel, bee, bear, black bear
Vetters:   Thanks to Lisa Davis, Associate Director of Education at the Denver Botanic Gardens, for reviewing the accuracy of the information in this book.

"Gentle, lightly colored spreads depict the tree from the ground up, providing a higher and higher perspective as branches reach out to the sky. Phrases naturally build with a growing intensity as more elements come into view. “These are the branches/that stretch from the trunk/that stands in the rain/that waters the soil/that feeds the roots/that anchor the tree/the bear climbed.” The focus remains on the tree at all times; soil, placed in someone’s hands without a face in view, showcases the sturdy trunk in the background. As bees collect the pollen from the flower blossoms, the encroaching bear sticks out his tongue for a delightful slurp; the accompanying spread shows the animal (now small in stature on all fours) as he scurries away from the swarming insects."
-School Library Journal

"Beginning with the roots, Berkes introduces one part of the tree or its environment at a time: soil, rain, trunk, branches, leaves, sun, blossoms and pollen. Each new addition to the cumulative "House That Jack Built" rhyme provides a little information: “This is the rain / that waters the soil / that feeds the roots / that anchor the tree / that bear climbed.” This last line (and the book’s title) may seem odd to children who are reading all about the tree’s needs, but once the bees and their hive and their honey enter the poem, it is not hard to guess how the bear gets involved, nor what will happen to him when he does. Two spreads of backmatter extend the learning, with a huge treasure trove of additional educational materials posted on the publisher’s website. Two pages teach readers about the basic needs of plants and the interaction between plants and animals. Two pages of activities challenge children to match a tree’s parts to their descriptions and conduct some experiments with plants. Rietz’s detailed artwork uses natural colors to great effect—readers will almost smell the blossoms on the tree and hear the buzzing of the bees with their furry bodies and transparent wings."
-Kirkus Reviews

"This cumulative poem in the style of "The House That Jack Built" explains--step by step--how a hive full of honey came to be hanging in "the tree that bear climbed." Handsome realistic artwork shows a close-up of each detail, from roots to honey, then depicts the whole tree with a touch of humor, as bear flees the angry bees. Includes activities and plant facts."
Horn Book Guide

Author/Illustrator Info:

Award-winning author Marianne Berkes is a retired teacher and librarian who uses her love of nature and teaching to create informational picture books. In addition to The Tree That Bear Climbed, Animalogy, Anybody Home? and now Daisylocks for Arbordale, some of Marianne’s other 17 (and counting) award-winning titles include Going Around the Sun, Some Planetary Fun; Seashells by the Seashore; Going Home, The Mystery of Animal Migration; Over in the Ocean, in a Coral Reef; Over in the Jungle, a Rainforest Rhyme and most recently Over in a River, What's in the Garden?, and The Swamp Where Gator Hides. Marianne has been actively involved in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for over twenty years and often suggests when she speaks at conferences that aspiring writers and illustrators join SCBWI. Visit her website at /

A lifelong artist and lover of nature, Kathleen Rietz was drawing and painting before she learned to write her name. Originally from Peoria, IL, Kathleen received her formal training from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, IL. In addition to illustratingDesert Baths, The Tree That Bear Climbed, Prairie Storms, and Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too! for Arbordale, Kathleen’s other books include Conce Tu Parque, Little Black Ant on Park Street, The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids, and Prayers for Children. She taught art to children and adults at the Community School of the Arts at historic Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, and through a local home school program in her community. For more information about Kathleen, visit her website:


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