cover image Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep

Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep

Maureen Wright, illus. by Will Hillenbrand. Marshall Cavendish, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7614-5560-8

Something's lost in translation%E2%80%94to funny effect%E2%80%94in this picture book about a hard-of-hearing bear's bungled preparations for a long winter's nap. As autumn rolls along, Old Man Winter, a whiskery face in the clouds, warns his friend, Big Bear, of the approaching cold weather. But Big Bear can't quite make out Old Man Winter's recurring suggestion%E2%80%94"Sleep, Big Bear, sleep"%E2%80%94and instead hears all manner of like-sounding phrases such as "Drive a jeep, Big Bear, drive a jeep," or "Climb a mountain steep, Big Bear, steep." Each misguided effort leaves Big Bear more and more tired, until Old Man Winter finally makes himself heard. First-time author Wright creates an appealing blend of silliness and read-aloud exuberance in her rhyming text. Hillenbrand's (Louie!) brown bear, accompanied by an energetic rabbit sidekick, has a friendly, expressive face and attacks his tasks with verve, despite his growing exhaustion. The rolling countryside, glowing in seasonal moonlight, or dotted with fine white snowflakes and crisp evergreens against a wintry gray sky, will have readers longing for a cup of hot cocoa. Ages 4%E2%80%948. (Sept.)