cover image Bear Day

Bear Day

Cynthia Rylant. Harcourt Children's Books, $12 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201090-4

Rylant (The Blue Hill Meadows) sounds a minor note in this paper-over-board book; nonetheless, her rhyming tale is agreeably sweet. Bear's day is chronicled from reveille on: ""He wakes in striped pajamas,/ a sock still on his head./ He says hello to Teddy,/ whom he always takes to bed."" The use of language holds few surprises, right down to a rhyme about Bear returning ""at night to his warm house"" and then saying a prayer, ""quiet as a mouse."" But the details, like the sock atop the waking Bear's head, are tender and specific, and the cozy structure of Bear's day is inviting. Selby's (The Seed Bunny) creamy pastel gouaches perk up the action with vibrantly patterned compositions that are just dynamic enough to move the reader from one simple sentence to the next. Both text and pictures slow down for the ending, in which Bear holds a candle to light his way to bed; this book, too, will ease the path to bedtime. Ages 2-6. (Oct.)