This book is special for me, because a lot of the drawings look like photos my grandfather (that’s him in the photo above) took when he worked for Boy Scouts of America in the 1950s. My grandpa was in charge of the troops in much of Alaska, and many of those troops were made up of Alaska Natives, so he got to know them well. Jan Brett used similar native groups from Canada – the Inuit – as inspiration for her book’s illustrations.
Grandpa’s photos even include some “snow bears” he met while visiting Alaskan Natives! These first two photos are in the summertime, but Alaska is a very snowy place – as you can tell in this photo featuring my grandma!
Grandpa’s photos include images of sled dogs, just like the ones Aloo-ki loses:
This photo reminds me of the drawing of Aloo-ki’s dogs waiting for her after they are rescued by the very kind snow bears!
Aloo-ki is out doing some ice fishing – another activity my grandpa photographed:
For our activity, I showed my kids these photos (which I only recently got copies of) and printed images of snow bears off Jan Brett’s wonderful activity page for this book. I thought about drawing my own bears, but why do that when an incredible illustrator has provided resources?
Jan Brett’s Snow Bears are dressed in beautiful Inuit clothing. I printed Mama, Papa, and Baby bears from Jan Brett’s sheets of small size bears and gave them to the kids so that they could design some outfits for their bears.
For whatever reason, Jan Brett’s PDF file is not a standard paper size, so some of the bears were cut off. This wasn’t a problem for us since it printed more bears than we needed anyway, but if you are prepping for a larger group of children you might want to do some reformatting before printing.
Eight-year-old Emma’s baby bear is featured at the top of this post. She is still working on her other bears. Six-year-old Johnny’s bears are above, and you can find five-year-old Lily’s bears below:
Each child decorated and cut out their own bears. Even two-year-old Anna enjoyed this activity:
How would you dress your snow bears? You can also make your kids some felt board bears to dress up as an activity for this book! This polar bear winter art project for kids pairs beautifully with the book as well!