When the sun sets and all the animals are sleepy, Little Bear is still wide awake, but finally, the cub too, yawns and, after a good-night kiss from Great Big Bear, drops off to sleep.
Haughton’s deceptively simple narrative chronicles a series of animal yawns. Using digital color effects with masterful control, he gradually darkens his palette as day turns into night. Early pages are cut so that each group is revealed in turn on successively bigger spreads, from small to large: mice, hares, deer, and bears. These nongendered, stylized, blue and black animal shapes have large eyes, heavy-lidded or entirely closed except for those of wide-awake Little Bear. A strip of green grass along the bottom of each spread gradually darkens, white space shrinks and disappears, and the colors of the plants and trees turn from gold to red to a brownish purple. The artist runs through his spectrum again in the final pages: mice sleep against a green backdrop, hares under an orange sky, deer against pinky-reds, and the bears in a purple and black world. Polar-centered star maps on the endpapers might suggest a different kind of story and add a mythic dimension. In front are the Southern Hemisphere constellations; in the back, the Northern Hemisphere reveals the Great Bear and the Little Bear in the sky.
An infectious bedtime story, sure to prompt yawns in readers and their preschool listeners as well. (Picture book. 1-5)