cover image Sleepyhead Bear:

Sleepyhead Bear:

Lisa Westberg Peters. Greenwillow Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-059675-0

Peters (Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck) has such a knack for putting readers in the title cub's shoes-er, paws-that they, too, will be able to feel his anguish at not being able to get to sleep. The rhyming verse moves the story along at just the right pace for preschoolers acting out each creature's sounds (""He tries to look tall and growls, Grrrrrr!/ But the bugs aren't afraid, and they buzzzzzz in his fur""). Because the plot fluidly moves from one event into the next, punctuated by onomatopoeia, storytellers will find the words rolling right off the tongue. Schoenherr's (Little Raccoon's Big Question) illustrations aptly capture the exhausted cub with eyelids so heavy they can barely stay open. Other scenes, however, are almost frightening, a caveat for parents of youngsters who may fear the wide-mouth bear roaring at a family of terrified raccoons. The art tones down at story's end, when a colorful cloud of butterflies befriends the cub; they play with him until he has no energy left. As the bear finally settles in for his long-overdue nap, so too can readers, whose bedtimes may be upon them. Ages 4-up.