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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bedtime for Bear, written and illustrated by Brett Helquist. Harper, 2011. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"HEY, BEAR. We're tired.
It's late. Isn't it bedtime
for bears?
How about just one more time?
I won't see you again until spring.
So down they slid."

I'm sure you have read hibernation stories before, and that you enjoyed them. You may not have seen one quite like this! It is in the illustrations that children will truly delight as they read this reversal of an oft-told tale of children playing outside in the spring and summer when a friend has been called inside. It's not fair....can't you just hear it???

It's November. Bear has donned his winter pjs, grabbed hold of his favorite stuffed bunny and is settling in for a long winter's nap when two bandit (well, raccoon) friends show up to invite him outside for a final foray in the snow. They are persistent, but Bear is adamant. It's time for all good bears to be asleep.

And, that's the end of the story? No, of course not! As he slumbers Bear cannot help but hear his friends gamboling on the snow slopes right outside his window. Their laughter is keeping his from his slumber. When they start pelting his windows with well-aimed snowballs, he is disgruntled and opens his door to confront them...only to be on the receiving end of one of those missiles. The rascals run in fear, and Bear gives chase.

He trips and falls and comes to understand his friends' delight in their outdoor adventure. They spend the whole day together before they all succumb to exhaustion and Bear takes to his bed, once again. The raccoons head off with a promise that they will meet again following the winter nap.

It's all fun but made more so with the expressive, topsy-turvy artwork that the author contributes. Young readers are sure to want to jump right inside the book and take their part in all the fun being had. Bret Helquist uses variety in perspective, and gives his characters charm and vigor. Sharing the story is almost as much as fun as participating in it!

I know it's a bit late to be sharing it, but I didn't want you to miss it. So, put it on your list for purchase and get it before winter rears its ugly head once again.

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