Forest-animal friends launch a string of contrasting terms to illustrate opposites just as a storm brings everyone together in Bear’s cozy lair.
Big Bear of Bear Snores On (2002) returns to meet up with small Mouse. Together they greet Hare and Badger, Wren and Owl, Mole and Gopher as each pair is given succinct, divergent, one-word descriptions. “There’s a clatter in the glen / High Owl, low Wren. / Slow Badger, fast Hare. / Small Mouse, big Bear!” Lovely acrylic paintings depict a verdant woodland hosting lightly anthropomorphized critters that exhibit expressively affable faces. Each new pair of characters and its corresponding portrayal is introduced against a stark white background that gives way after the page turn to a double-page spread that lists them cumulatively. The engaging language smoothly presents new vocabulary like “glen” and “lair” ahead of the rhyming, repetitive refrain, with opposing descriptive words set in bold type. Just in time, Raven warns of the approaching rain, prompting everyone to seek shelter. “All together, gathered there. / Cold night, warm lair. / Quiet woods, loud friends. / High Owl, low Wren. / Slow Badger, fast Hare. / Small mouse…BIG BEAR!”
Fluent and friendly, this frolic will encourage preschoolers and emergent readers to recite and chant along with each reread. (Picture book. 3-6)