________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 6 . . . . October 7, 2011


A Bedtime for Bear.

Bonny Becker. Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.
Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press (Distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada), 2010.
48 pp., hardcover, $20.00.
ISBN 978-0-7636-4101-6.

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Karyn Miehl.

**** /4


This Junior Library Guild Selection, with illustrations in ink, watercolour and gouache, shows how Bear needs everything to be just so before he can fall asleep. However, when Mouse comes to spend the night, he upsets Bear's routine and disrupts the quiet that Bear needs for sleep. Once the house is quiet, though, Bear needs Mouse's reassurance that there is nothing to fear under the bed, behind the curtains, and in the closet. After the bedroom is secure and Mouse tells Bear a bedtime story, they are finally able to go to sleep.

Creak, squeak, rattle went Mouse's bed as he hopped in.
Bear jammed his pillow over his ears, gritted his teeth, and closed his eyes.

internal art
He was just about to drift off when . . .

"Good night, Bear," Mouse called softly.

Bear tried to pretend he was asleep.
"Good night," Mouse called a little louder.
"My ears are highly sensitive," cried Bear.
"Really? How interesting," Mouse said.

"Can you hear this?" Mouse mumbled into his pillow.
"Amazing. How about this?" Mouse said from under his pillow.

Mouse slipped under his blankets, crawled to the bottom of his bed, and whispered.
"Can you hear---"
"Silence!" Bear roared.

      A Bedtime for Bear is the third humorous book featuring Bear and Mouse by author Bonny Becker. The book opens with the repeated phrase and action of Mouse "tap, tap, tapping" on Bear's door (this event occurs in a previous Bear book as well), and with Mouse being introduced as "small and gray and bright-eyed", a frequent description of Mouse. Rather than feeling redundant, these and other repeated phrases actually add to the flow of the text and provide a familiar feel to the three Bear books. Young readers, in encountering this repetition, will gain confidence in their reading skills as they will be able to read these passages easily by book three and be familiar with the writing style of Becker.

      As with the previous two Bear books, font changes occur for emphasis or to show that Mouse is speaking very quietly. This book also makes use of the ellipses (. . .), the dash and the hyphen, which can be used to teach punctuation, or which can open a discussion as to why young readers think the author used these rather than just commas and periods. The vocabulary in this book is also a positive feature as it will challenge young readers to learn new words. Some of these larger words are also repeated from an earlier Bear book, such as Mouse saying "Deepest apologies".

      Once again, Kady MacDonald Denton's mostly earth-toned illustrations are very appealing and enhance the text. Also consistent within the three Bear books is the portrayal of the two characters, with Bear wanting things done his way, and with Mouse being persistent and showing qualities of a good friend.

      A Bedtime for Bear is a very enjoyable and humorous read.

Highly Recommended.

Karyn Miehl, a mother of two and a secondary school English teacher, lives in Kingsville, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.