A bear in search of some shut-eye ends up with a day at the beach.
Shelby, an anthropomorphic brown bear, wants to sleep but is distracted by woodland noises. He searches for a quiet spot and ends up in what he thinks is “the PERFECT cave, deep, dark, and PEACEFUL, with no crunch-munching squirrels or tat-tatting birds,” but it’s actually the undercarriage of a passenger bus. The bus’s destination is a crowded beach, which Shelby finds just as noisy as the woods, whether he’s crouched under the boardwalk or seeking refuge in seagrass. The worst disruption comes at night when, while burrowed in an elaborate sand castle, Shelby is suddenly awoken by fireworks. His sleep is then interrupted at daybreak when he hears a “cub” crying—it’s a mewling orange kitten stranded on a piling. The bear swims out and rescues it, only to then be overwhelmed by news crews covering the story. He slinks off and then is delighted to find a bus that returns him to the woods where he began. The noises are still present, but odds and ends from his journey help him block them out and, finally, sleep. Throughout, the bright, cartoon-style art fills in details suggested by text, such as a swooping dragon kite that comes “SWISH-SWOOOOSH-FLAP-FLAP-FLAP[PING]” over seagrass. Although the setup has echoes of Margot Zemach’s It Could Always Be Worse, this tale lacks that classic’s folkloric compression.
A light spin on the “be careful what you wish for” theme. (Picture book. 2-5)