School Library Journal
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PreS-In this deceptively simple bedtime story, a boy snuggles up with his mother to read his favorite book. It is about a bear going to sleep for the winter, and together they look at the pictures and talk about the text. "'Do bears really sleep all winter long?' asked the boy." He turns the page and notices the snow. "'Snow is cold,' he said." His mother reads some more about the sleeping bear, and animals in winter, and children gliding across the ice on a frozen lake. "'I'd like to skate,' said the boy." Page by page, the bear sleeps while life goes on around him, but this book is about much more than that. With great subtlety, this mother and child are modeling the perfect way to share a picture book, cuddling up and allowing time to examine the pictures, talk about the concepts, and point out the known and unknown. Actions in the book within the book are internalized by the boy, demonstrating a fundamental aspect of reading comprehension: "A fox drank from a pond. 'I'm thirsty,' said the little boy." As with previous bedtime books by these fine collaborators, short simple sentences create a tranquil, soothing air, while the lush textured oil paintings fill the pages with dense color. But the most valuable thing about this gem might be that it demonstrates a best practice, to the benefit of children and parents alike.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* The creators of The Great Blue House (2005) and Fox (2007) are as adept as any at presenting the wonders of the natural world to preschoolers. In this cozy and deceptively simple story, a toddler and his mother cuddle up at bedtime to read a favorite picture book about a black bear as it prepares for winter, hibernates in its den, and then emerges in springtime. Banks provides details about hibernation and winter's many changes in both descriptive, child-friendly text and the resulting conversation between adult and child as they make their way through the book. Although the focus of this atmospheric story is seemingly on the big black bear, the book is just as much a celebration of the shared-reading experience, from sitting close and discussing the story to exploring the illustrations to noting the book's sensory features. Hallensleben's rich, impressionistic artwork moves seamlessly between warm domestic scenes of the pair reading and vibrant natural landscapes with plenty of seasonal detail. With its quiet, gentle tone, this is perfect for one-on-one bedtime reading as well as for introducing hibernation, sleep cycles, and seasonal change, but the engaging, double-spread pictures will please crowds, too.--McKulski, Kristen Copyright 2010 Booklist
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In an extraordinary portrait of the tender, meandering, and inquisitive nature of reading together, a boy and his mother read a book about a hibernating bear, turning the pages slowly and commenting on the illustrations-it's clearly an old favorite. " 'Winter settled like a big hush,' read the boy's mother. 'And the big black bear slept.' 'Shh,' said the boy." The illustrations in the bear book intersect with the images of the mother and son, as though readers are reading alongside them; early on, readers peer over their heads, moving closer in subsequent spreads until the two books seem, now and again, to become one. Thickly stroked paintings and warm colors create a sense of richness, while slow pacing contributes to the sleepy atmosphere. As spring approaches and the bear in the book wakes up, the boy grows sleepier. Banks and Hallensleben (whose most recent collaboration was What's Coming for Christmas?) allow readers to share fully in the pleasure of a loving parent-child relationship. This is, quite literally, what reading with a child is all about. Ages 3-6. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.