Baby Bear’s mother must use a great deal of persuasion to get her child to hibernate.
Best known for her nonfiction, it appears this award-winning author also has a knack for using simple, fictional stories to keep the attention of young readers while slyly delivering facts about nonhuman animals. Here, the many ploys children use to delay bedtime are used by Baby Bear to avoid hibernation. The first excuse is certainly recognizable: “ ‘But, Mama,’ Baby Bear says. ‘I’m hungry.’ ” Mama indulges her cub through several of his excuses while also explaining some other animals’ winter habits and the reasons that a bear cub must hibernate. Vibrant colors show a northern woodland, bordered by a lake and mountains, that’s rapidly changing from fall into winter. The two black bears are cartoonlike, walking on all fours but with anthropomorphized body language and facial expressions. One funny sequence of vignettes shows Baby Bear unsuccessfully trying to catch a fish. There is also a droll reference to “Goldilocks”: When the bears finally settle in, Baby Bear complains, “This bed is too hard.” Adding more leaves to the den floor is Mama Bear’s last attempt to placate her whiny cub. His final excuse results in her roar of “ENOUGH!” in bold letters. After a humorous closing punchline, backmatter offers more facts and resources about hibernation as well as simple instructions for how a child can pretend to “den like a bear.”
A few facts, a lot of fun. (Picture book. 3-6)