PB 14:14 Day One/Bears on Chairs

Title: Bears on Chairs

Author: Shirley Parenteau

Illustrator: David Walker

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Year: 2009

Word Count: Approx. 275

Christie Wright Wild’s Picture Books 14:14 starts today, in which participants read, study, and share one picture book a day for 14 days. Click the PB 14:14 logo above for more information.

Though I have reviewed many picture books, this is my first attempt at actually analyzing one. (Christie, feel free to grade me on this.) Bears on Chairs contains many of the Top Ten Story Elements for Picture Books, including rhyme, pattern, word play, and theme. But this post’s focus will be on Conflict.

The story starts off just fine. There are four chairs and four bears. All is well for about 1/3 of the story. “Four happy bears on four small chairs. Not a bear has to share.” The conflict begins when a fifth bear shows up. And guess what, he wants a chair too. “What a stare from Big Brown Bear. That big bear wants a chair.”

Now our four original bears have to decide what to do. Do they care? Will they share? Yes. Three attempts are made to accommodate Big Brown Bear so that he can sit down too. Sharing one chair doesn’t work. It’s not big enough for two bears. Sharing two chairs doesn’t work either. It’s not big enough for three bears. But, of course, the last try works and all five bears share one long chair, thus ending the conflict and the story.

I must mention that you can clearly see the theme in this story: sharing.

Bears on Chairs is deceptively simple. I think that’s what makes it such a good example of a picture book.

17 thoughts on “PB 14:14 Day One/Bears on Chairs

    • Yes, it is perfect for very young kids and for kids in, well, their 40’s. : ) I like this book so much, I purchased my own copy, which is something I don’t do that often because I work in a library. I absolutely love David Walker’s illustrations in this book as well. Look for more in Shirley Parenteau’s “Bears” series!


  1. rnewman504 says:

    p.s. I just noticed you have a book coming out! Congratulations! Please let me know when it hits the bookstores. Will need to get a signed copy! 🙂


  2. Lauri, sounds like a fantastic book. I love the simplicity you describe, and it sounds like, from your description, the fact that it is simple makes the conflict a stronger arc. Illustrations look good too. Great review and post.


  3. how delightful. The illustrations are adorable and congratulations on your own book. This challenge is going to help push me forward in my writing. I greatly appreciate seeing how others write an analysis.


    • I agree, Cecilia, I’m counting on this challenge to help me in my own writing. I think it will help us to really “see” the elements that make up a good picture book. Also, if you like the illustrations in this book, check out some of David Walker’s other books and the interview I did with him here on my blog. He’s awesome!


  4. jackiewellington21 says:

    I have never read this book, but I will on Monday. I am going to seek it out and read it. I am intrigued by how writers can write in such few words. Thanks for sharing this; I look forward to reading it. Also, thanks for stopping by and visiting. It is appreciated 😀


    • Hi, Jackie, Thanks for commenting! I am also intrigued by how some writers can write an entire story in such few words. I struggle with cutting mine down to the recommended between 500 and 600 words. I’m hoping that the analyzing we are doing during the PB 14:14 challenge will help me with my own stories including how to best cut them down.


      • jackiewellington21 says:

        I agree. I am having a hard time writing to word count. But as I do these, I am realizing that some stories need every single word they get. Whether it is 100 or 1000. A good story needs to be told and the word count is to each his own. Thanks for commenting. 😀


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