Bubble Trouble: Margaret Mahy
Children's Literacy and Reading News Roundup: Early April Edition

Stop Snoring, Bernard!: Zachariah Ohora

Book: Stop Snoring, Bernard!
Author/Illustrator: Zachariah Ohora
Pages: 32
Age Range: 3-6

Cover Stop Snoring, Bernard!, as you might guess from the cover and title, is a picture book about an otter named Bernard. Bernard's only problem, in an otherwise idyllic zoo life, is that he snores. Loudly. When fellow otter Grumpy Giles complains, Bernard searches the zoo for other places to sleep. But not only are the other habitats less than congenial for the young otter, the other animals aren't so thrilled with him either. He continually hears: "Stop snoring, Bernard!".

I personally found the resolution of this book, in which the other otters miss Bernard and want him back, snoring and all, a bit unsatisfying. Bernard doesn't really DO anything that fixes the problem - it basically resolves itself. But young children will probably find the ultimate message, about being accepted for who you are, reassuring.

And I did still like the book. Ohora's acrylic illustrations are both funny and touching, with bold lines, and a focused color palette. I especially enjoyed Grumpy Giles, with his dramatically narrowed eyebrows and down-turned mouth. The places that Bernard chooses to sleep, like in a fountain, are pleasantly ridiculous. The page where "He even tried sleeping in a puddle! But that really didn't work" is sure to elicit both giggles and sympathy for Bernard (he has bags under his eyes, poor thing). And having him spend a night with the bats (who don't sleep at night anyway) is rather ingenious. For me, the illustrations make the book.

I recommend Stop Snoring, Bernard! for young animal-lovers, and anyone with a keen sense of the ridiculous. Kids who have parents who snore might especially get a kick out of this book - I can almost hear choruses of "Stop snoring, Daddy!" echoing around the country.

Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 12, 2011
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher. Please note that quotes are from the ARC, and should be compared with the final, finished book.

© 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).