Bill Martin, Jr. has written nearly 300 children’s books, including Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and What Do You See? Martin came upon Eric Carle’s illustrations in a newspaper and the two began working together soon after. Martin and Carle write poetry books that they wish they could have had as students. Their use of simple, rhythmic language aids kids in making the transition from reading to writing at an early age. Martin sets a rhythm before beginning to write a book, which he then repeats throughout the book. Martin’s goal in authoring his children’s poetry books, according to American author and illustrator Steven Kellogg, is to expose “children to the’ music of language.'” Martin feels that even if children don’t grasp the content, the upbeat rhythm connects with them.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Is available in four different editions, each with a different ending. Carle explained that text changes between editions (mainly on the last page) were caused by Martin, and that Carle created new illustrations to match the modifications. The teacher is replaced by a monkey in the first version of the book, published in 1967. Between the Blue Horse and the Green Frog in the 1970 edition is a Grey Mouse, and between the Purple Cat and the White Dog is a Pink Elephant. In the 1984 UK edition, a monkey replaces the teacher.