In this comforting story about a big bear trying to help a little bear overcome his fear of the dark, both the affectionate humor and the beguiling variations on a repetitive theme are reminiscent of Minarik's classic Little Bear (1957); but this British team gives a fresh flavor to the old formula. For one thing, these bears live in a cave, comfortably furnished but just the site for lurking shadows. Big Bear (who looks like an informally updated version of one of L. Leslie Brooke's amiable Three Bears) is trying to read, but willingly fetches first one and then another and another ever-larger lantern to dispel the dark that troubles the restless little bear; finally, they go into the real dark outside to admire the full moon and Little Bear drifts off to sleep, safe at last in Big Bear's encompassing arms. Waddell's charming narration has the grace and economy of old nursery tales. Using frames of mellow slate blue, Firth sets her pencil and watercolor illustrations beneath gentle arches that suggest the cave's interior, comfortably accommodating the text among vignettes and larger spreads. As in Brooke's illustrations, there are delightful domestic details to explore, But the bears are best of all. Perfect for bedtime, or anytime.
Pub Date: March 5, 1992
Page Count: 32
Publisher: "Candlewick (2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140)"