Flannel Friday: “Polar Bear’s Underwear” by Tupera Tupera

A quick “flannel” board to accompany Tupera Tupera’s adorable picture book, Polar Bear’s Underwear! I used this during a bear-themed storytime in April, and it garnered plenty of giggles.

Like almost all of my flannel boards, there is no felt involved here. I make my sets on cardstock or construction paper, and laminate them to increase durability. For this set, only the bear itself needs to stick to the flannel board, and masking tape does the trick. I use Velcro squares to keep the rest of the pieces together.

enhanced-6643-1417419942-13The Book

I first saw this book when it came in more than a year ago, and it’s been on my radar ever since. It’s perfect for a storytime group — a simple, repeating structure, bold illustrations, a built-in guessing game, and, obviously, underwear! The toddlers in my group started giggling as soon as they saw the cover, and didn’t stop until the final page.

The hardest part was making my polar bear — I drew him freehand. It took a few tries to get the proportions right. Once he took shape, I made basic shapes out of colored cardstock to create his eyebrows, eyes, ears and snout. A quick outline in black marker, and he was ready to go!

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Polar bear, looking appropriately bashful.

Next came the underwear. In the book, Polar Bear cannot remember where he placed his underwear and tries on numerous pairs, none of which belong to him. The reader must guess, based on the underwear’s design, which animal should be wearing the pair (i.e., the striped underwear belong to zebra, and the donut patterned underwear to pig).

To make the different pairs, I found images or patterns online and printed them out in large strips, then used a panty-shaped template to cut them all to size (except for the butterfly’s pair, which had to be much smaller!) I put a square of white Velcro on the back of each pair, and another on Polar Bear himself.

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An assortment of underwear.

Now, as it turns out, Polar Bear was wearing his underwear the whole time — he’d forgotten he put on a clean, white pair. So, while making Bear, I drew in a simple outline in pencil, which you can barely see in the first picture. It’s enough to make the kids do a double-take! Who doesn’t love a good plot twist?

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