Kirkus Reviews QR Code
TOO TIGHT, BENITO! by Janeen Brian


by Janeen Brian & illustrated by Judith Rossell

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-921049-86-6
Publisher: Little Hare/Trafalgar

Falling leaves tell Benito Bear that it’s almost time to crawl into his cubby-hole for his winter sleep, but he discovers that he has outgrown his hole and must find another soon. The otter’s burrow beside the stream is too wet, the woodpecker’s hole too noisy and the rabbit burrow too crowded. As darkness falls, he ventures deeper into the forest, until he gets lost. He spies a hole between two rocks and dives in, but finds it dark and scary and scrambles back to his original cubby. It’s still too small, but Benito finds that, by squirming and wiggling and then by digging, he can make it just the right size. Rossell makes Benito positively adorable while staying just this side of cloying, soft pencils defining the simplified, rounded forms of the bear. Her piney woods are suffused with a soft light; even when a skewed overhead perspective emphasizes Benito’s uneasiness, they’re still a comfortable place for small children to be. Readers will be especially pleased to play spot-the-squirrel as a small companion shadows Benito on his quest. (Picture book. 3-6)