Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bear Bonanza

Everything had to be just so for Bear's bedtime.
His glass of water had to sit on the exact right spot on his bed stand.
His favorite pillow must be nicely fluffed.
His nightcap needed to be snug.
Most of all, it had to be quiet---very, very quiet.

A Bedtime for Bear (Candlewick Press, September 14, 2010), the third book in Bonny Becker's series of Bear and Mouse books, is simply charming.

Big, set-in-his-ways Bear is in for an unexpected surprise when happy-go-lucky Mouse appears at his door one evening.  Mouse, suitcase in hand, cheerfully reminds Bear that he is here to spend the night.  Never having an overnight guest before, Bear is apprehensive.

He repeatedly reminds Mouse of his need for absolute quiet as Mouse goes through his preparations for sleep, brushing his teeth, humming and nosily settling on his bed.  When Bear tells Mouse that his ears are very sensitive, the ensuing dialogue as Mouse tests that fact is hilarious. 

Later when Bear is frightened by noises that he can not identify and awakens Mouse, Mouse sees through his apparent calm and checks all those places where "noises" might hide.  All ends well with Bear telling a story to sooth the nerves of Mouse as both finally fall asleep.

Becker's command of word choices in the conversations between Bear and Mouse are what beg readers to read them again and again.  Their friendship which began in A Visitor for Bear, continued in A Birthday for Bear and is maintained in this new episode is just what the child in all of us needs.

Kady MacDonald Denton perfectly captures every nuance of the characters and Bear's home through her illustrations.  Her use of watercolor, ink and gouache establish a warm atmosphere inviting the reader to share this duo's newest chapter.  Seeing Bear carrying Mouse's tiny suitcase in two fingers as they go upstairs, Bears exasperated looks as Mouse gets ready for bed or Mouse wearing earmuffs when Bear's snores get too loud can not fail to bring forth a chuckle or two. 

When will the next Bear and Mouse book be ready?  What will they do this time?  This reader can hardly wait.

There are lots of extras at the publisher's website including a story hour activity kit, an author's note and a view of an interior image.

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