One of my favorite titles from 2008 was A Visitor for Bear, by Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton. I loved it because it was so perfect for reading aloud. I was therefore very happy when I learned that Bear (a bit grumpy) and Mouse (small and gray and bright-eyed) were back with a new picture book, A Bedtime for Bear. (There was an early reader in between, but I haven't read that one.) I'm even more happy to report that A Bedtime for Bear lives up to the read-aloud-ability of the first book.
As A Bedtime for Bear begins, Bear, who is still rather set in his ways, is gearing up for a nice, quiet bedtime (with emphasis on quiet). He's a bit surprised when Mouse shows up for a sleepover. Friction ensues when Mouse, even though he's quiet as a .... well, you know, is not quite quiet enough for Bear. But when Bear hears a potentially scary sound, it's Mouse who saves the day.
What I love about this book is that Mouse totally gets Bear, and responds to his grumpiness with unceasing courtesy and understanding. And Bear, while perhaps not quite so clever, does know that his life is happier with Mouse in it. Their relationship rivals the classic friendships of literature (right up there with George and Martha, and Frog and Toad).
And, like A Visitor for Bear, A Bedtime for Bear is pure fun to read aloud. I could quote any page to show you. Here's the first:
"One evening, Bear heard a tap, tap, tapping on his front door."
"Bristle, bristle, bristle. Bear heard a noise. It was Mouse, brushing his teeth.
"Ahem!" Bear cleared his throat in a reminding sort of way.
"Mouse sorry," said Mouse."
Then there's the enlarged, bold text when Bear loses his temper. ("Will this torment never cease!" wailed Bear.) Great fun!
Kady MacDonald Denton's softly-colored, detailed illustrations are perfect for a bedtime book. The colors get a bit darker when things are momentarily scary, and then warm up again. Denton totally gets Bear and Mouse, too. The cover image says it all - a weary bear leaning over a perky, pajama-clad mouse. Oh, and I love that Mouse sets up a bed in Bear's nightstand drawer. Just like the mouse in Goodnight Gorilla (only cozier, with pillow and blanket).
A Bedtime for Bear is longer than the usual picture book, and you may find that it's too long for very young children. But for preschoolers old enough to laugh, understandingly, at Bear's tantrums, A Bedtime for Bear is a must-have title. This is one that I expect to keep forever. Highly recommended.
Publication Date: September 14, 2010
Source of Book: I bought it for Baby Bookworm for Christmas
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).