Five-year-old Bentley is so full of energy that he is trying to family and friends alike.
Bentley Oliver Anthony Brown. It’s a big name for a young rhino, but he’s substantial enough to cause trouble when he gets excited. His mother loves her “bright little spark,” but she is constantly telling him, “Gently, Bentley.” (The phrase is 1950s-era British slang for “slow down.”) The understated text lets the cartoonish illustrations show the chaos Bentley causes. When the text notes Bentley’s energy and excitable nature “can get him into trouble,” the illustrations document the havoc: paint on the walls, lamps tipped over, laundry pulled from the clothesline, a mess at the breakfast table. And at school, he’s in such a rush all of the time that school supplies go flying, as do his classmates when he chases them during recess (called “the break” in this English import). What will Bentley be like with a new baby in the house? Two double-page spreads nicely develop tension as Bentley spots the sleeping baby. Young readers will anticipate the worst but will be pleased to see that Bentley has an endearing side his mother knew was there all along. While the endpapers show paint that didn’t quite hit Bentley’s easel (in a pleasing abstract art style), the final pages show the many ways Bentley is a loving and attentive big brother.
A sweet read-aloud choice for little ones who themselves might earn the occasional “Gently, Bentley.” (Picture book. 3-6)