cover image Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep

Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep

Jane Yolen, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, , illus. by Brooke Dyer. . HarperCollins, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-081560-8

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.)