Brown Bear,Brown Bear Colloquial Cantonese Translation

Brown Bear Brown Bear what do you see?啡色嘅熊,啡色嘅熊,你睇到乜嘢?

Update May 2021:

RIP Eric Carle (1929-2021)

Thank you Eric Carle for sharing your talent with the world. Your books and their beautiful illustrations have left us lots of cherished memories. You have passed but your books will continue to delight new generations of children all over the world.


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was the first children’s picture book illustrated by Eric Carle 艾瑞.卡爾 (ngaai6 seoi6. kaa1 ji5) and is the first of many of Eric Carle’s books delighting children all over the world.

First published in 1967, this beautiful picture book is filled with large bright and cheerful illustrations of animals that are in distinct Eric Carle style. The repetitive question and answers in the pages provide a strong rhythm that makes it easy for children to follow.

“Brown bear, brown bear,
What do you see?
I see a red bird
Looking at me”

And so it goes on, with each animal seeing another animal…. it is poetical in its simplicity. And just reading it aloud has soothing effect.

It is no wonder that the book has over sold 16 million copies and been translated into over 31 languages. It also has three sequels, though lesser known.

You can tell from my enthusiasm that this book is a favorite in our home. Have read it countless times to kiddo, in English, Colloquial Cantonese and Cantonese.


Translation to Cantonese

When translating the text to Colloquial Cantonese, I realize that there are so many ways to translate.

e.g “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking at me” can be expressed as
啡色嘅熊,啡色嘅熊,你睇到乜嘢?(fe1 sik1 ge3 hung4 ,fe1 sik1 ge3 hung4 ,nei5 tai2 dou3 mat1 je5 ?)
or 啡色嘅熊,啡色嘅熊,你見到乜嘢?(fe1 sik1 ge3 hung4 ,fe1 sik1 ge3 hung4 ,nei5 gin3 dou3 mat1 je5 ?)
or 啡色嘅熊,啡色嘅熊,你睇緊乜嘢?(fe1 sik1 ge3 hung4 ,fe1 sik1 ge3 hung4 ,nei5 tai2 gan2 mat1 je5 ?)
There is no hard and fast rule. I went with the one that I am most comfortable with. You should paraphrase it in a way that is most natural to you.

So how should you use the Cantonese text?

  • You can read through it to familiarize yourself, and if you can remember the words, you can just translate the book to Cantonese as you flip through the pages, without referring to the printable
  • You can print it out to accompany your reading of the book – that’s why the fonts in the printable are so large
  • You can stick the words in the book, either over another language or near it. (I did this with a few books, but later decided it was too much work)
  • You can write the Chinese words in the book.(this is OK for shorter books, but will get tedious for longer books)
  • You can write some words – e.g. just the colors in Cantonese –   紅色、黃色、藍色、綠色、紫色、白色、黑色、金色. If you choose this route, I suggest only writing words that are similar in both Colloquial Cantonese and standard Chinese. This could be an opportunity to expose your child to some Chinese words.

Brown bear brown bear what do you see Traditional Chinese book

If you are looking for the Traditional Chinese version, 棕色的熊、棕色的熊,你在看什麼, , it can be bought here.

I have also seen a Simplified Chinese- English bilingual version from our library (ISBN 978753325876).

If you don’t have a Chinese version of the book, it is OK to use English or any other language versions, and just read it in Cantonese. It is OK.  Your child would be fascinated with the illustrations and your rhythmic reading.





You can also watch Cantonese Mommy read the book in Cantonese (Standard Chinese) and translating it into Colloquial Cantonese as she goes. (This method of reading is recommended for HK parents whose kids need to learn both Colloquial Cantonese and Standard Chinese). Please note her translation is slightly different from mine.

I also came across a cute animation by 澳門街坊會聯合總會 – UGAMM. You can watch it on Facebook here.


Available for download is the Brown Bear Colloquial Cantonese translation Colloquial Cantonese text with three versions within. One in written Cantonese only, one in written Cantonese with Jyutping, one with comparison to Standard Chinese and English text. Are there other versions you would like to see?

I hope you will enjoy Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? as much as our family did!

Image Source : Eric Carle Brown Bear PNG


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