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—to funny effect—in 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—"Sleep, Big Bear, sleep"—and 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—8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/19/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Genre: Children's
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