A brown bear tries his best to slumber through winter.
Winter has come, and the snow has begun to pile high. Deep in his cave Bear tosses and turns, unable to fall asleep. Mouse arrives to check on his friend’s hibernation and is startled to find Bear still awake. Mouse brews some tea, but when that doesn’t work, Mouse enlists other woodland critters to help get bear to sleep. Lullabies, warm milk, and bedtime tales ensue. Bear and his pals are presented in Chapman’s trademark warm-colored, thin-lined illustrations, which flip-flop between double-page spreads and full-bleed, full-page illustrations opposed by vignettes in ovals. Scenes in Bear’s cozy den, his growing band of animal friends gathered in concern, have a rustic charm; one illustration, in which all the animals “hum,” depicts them with mouths open wide, but it’s so doggone cute readers won’t quibble. The text is composed in rhythmic, rhyming verse, paced to slowly but surely get little readers to feel their eyelids begin to weigh just a little bit more with each turn of the page; the refrain, variations on “And the bear / can’t / sleep!” will have readers chiming in before the final page quotes Bear’s first outing and provides resolution: “but the bear / snores / on!” Many little ones will be ready to turn in afterward as well.
A smart, stealth bedtime tale. (Picture book. 3-5)