A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck–all parade across the pages of this delightful book. Children will immediately respond to Eric Carle’s flat, boldly colored collages. Combined with Bill Martin’s singsong text, they create unforgettable images of these endearing animals.
Brown Bear lives in a forest with all of his forest friends. Then one day huge metal machines appear and tear apart Brown Bear’s home.
Where the deer’s meadow used to be is now a pasture with oppressed horses. They’ve lost all hope of freedom and Brown Bear does his best to avoid them. He then tries to find the stream where his frog friends would sing every night. Instead he’s greeted with cold pavement, an overly aggressive Chihuahua, and then Animal Control officers descend.
Brown Bear wakes from his drugged sleep back in the remains of his forest, with a big orange marking stamped across his face. Exhausted by the events of the day, he stumbles towards his cave. But a large road is blocking his way, with shining metal cars whizzing past at dizzying speeds. He decides to stay in the remains of the woodland.
Time passes, and first the deer herd starves as there is no longer enough grazing space for them, then Brown Bear too finds himself with no food source.
The story ends with Brown Bear again stumbling into the town, starving and desperate. As the animal control officers have already marked him as a possible threat, he is shot on site.
Brown Bear’s chilling insights into deforestation, overhunting, and the shrinking amount of woodlands will haunt generations of readers.