cover image Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep

Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep

Jane Yolen, Author, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Author, Brooke Dyer, Illustrato

Dyer (Mama Always Comes Home ), herself the daughter of illustrator Jane Dyer, joins the mother-daughter team of Yolen and Stemple (previously paired for The Salem Witch Trials ) to celebrate the joys of a long, cozy wintertime snooze. With a sleeping human child as the framing character, the authors visit the homes of 12 hibernating, pleasingly anthropormorphized animals. (The final page reveals that all the animals have a corresponding stuffed toy representative on the child's bed.) Each gets its own lullaby-like verse. For a girly skunk asleep in her boudoir, the authors write, "Snore, little skunk, snore,/ Turn over, snore some more./ The winter winds may howl and wail;/ Your den is closed with snow and hail./ But you know spring will never fail./ Snore, little skunk, snore." Dyer's consistently adorable watercolors especially stand out when she finds comic inspiration in the hallmark qualities of her animal cast. A beaver sleeps in a hard hat, surrounded by blueprints for next year's dams; the normally frenetic chipmunk snoozes in a track suit, gripping the shoestrings of his running shoes. Sweet and warmly comforting, this is the picture book equivalent of a cup of hot cocoa. Ages 2-6. (Feb.)