A smart, stealth bedtime tale.

BEAR CAN'T SLEEP

From the Bear Books series

A brown bear tries his best to slumber through winter.

Winter has come, and the snow has begun to pile high. Deep in his cave Bear tosses and turns, unable to fall asleep. Mouse arrives to check on his friend’s hibernation and is startled to find Bear still awake. Mouse brews some tea, but when that doesn’t work, Mouse enlists other woodland critters to help get bear to sleep. Lullabies, warm milk, and bedtime tales ensue. Bear and his pals are presented in Chapman’s trademark warm-colored, thin-lined illustrations, which flip-flop between double-page spreads and full-bleed, full-page illustrations opposed by vignettes in ovals. Scenes in Bear’s cozy den, his growing band of animal friends gathered in concern, have a rustic charm; one illustration, in which all the animals “hum,” depicts them with mouths open wide, but it’s so doggone cute readers won’t quibble. The text is composed in rhythmic, rhyming verse, paced to slowly but surely get little readers to feel their eyelids begin to weigh just a little bit more with each turn of the page; the refrain, variations on “And the bear / can’t / sleep!” will have readers chiming in before the final page quotes Bear’s first outing and provides resolution: “but the bear / snores / on!” Many little ones will be ready to turn in afterward as well.

A smart, stealth bedtime tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5973-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Another solid addition to the beloved series.

LLAMA LLAMA BACK TO SCHOOL

Summertime with all its pleasures is coming to an end, and school will soon begin again. What challenges will the new school year bring for Llama?

Told in a by-now-trademark rhyming verse style and accompanied by adorable, cheerful oil paint, colored pencil, and oil pastel illustrations, this story finds Llama taking pleasure in all the fun that summer brings—and hoping it will never be over. “Fishing, hiking, slip and slide. / Backyard camping, picnic time.” But as sure as one season follows another, fall is on its way and school will be starting again. Mamma Llama takes Llama shopping for new school supplies, but the expression on little Llama’s face makes it clear that preparing to return to school is anything but fun. Soon, the first day of school comes, and Llama is ready. There are so many rules: “Be on time. / Don’t push or shove. Stand in line. / Do not shout. Raise your hand.” “Lunch in cubbies. Coats on hooks.” But these are seasoned students, and they take it in stride. All except for one: A young rhino is new and feeling scared. Llama knows just what to do, sharing crayons and showing the newcomer how to glue. Soon the rhino is part of the gang. As is characteristic of the series, this is one more situation familiar to many a young child solved in sweet Llama style. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Another solid addition to the beloved series. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35244-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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