BEARS IN MY BED

Michael Irwin, Author . Big Fish $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8069-7535-1

"My Mom says,/ 'Thomas, it's all in your head!' " bemoans newcomer Irwin's young narrator, "But at night, I have/ bears in my bed." Those bears are not the cuddly types—in fact, the comically hulking, impressively clawed ursine duo fills up most of the space in the spreads to follow. What's more, they lack manners: "They're always under my feet/ and dribble when I eat," the boy notes, as huge drops of drool dangle from the bears' mouths. The boy entertains several strategies for ridding himself of the bears—including giving them the keys to the family car—then hits on the solution, coaxing them into the zoo with a jar of honey. But as the final pages reveal, an active imagination can't tolerate an imaginary animal vacuum for long (an elephant takes the duo's place). The rhymes are simple to a fault—the meter often feels wooden and there's little verbal snap ("I know what to do!/ I'll need one pot of/ honey—not the hard/ but the runny"). But the bright colors and large shapes of Irwin's watercolor-and-ink cartoons have a poster-like impact. And he gets maximum mileage from his enormous bears, who seem barely contained by the margins of the pages. Ages 4-7. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/26/2001
Release date: 12/01/2001
Genre: Children's
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