Written by Kate Banks, Illustrated by Georg Hallensleben
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012
Once there was a book.
The plot in a nutshell: A boy and his mother share a bedtime story.
The book is a favorite of the boy who owns it and it’s all about a bear who is hibernating. The boy asks his mother lots of question about hibernation and is interested in everything the bear does. He comments on the snow and finds the animals hiding in the book’s pictures. He names the colors he sees and occasionally reminds the sleeping bear to keep sleeping. As spring starts to show up in the book, the boy’s eyes are getting heavy. He wonders how hungry the bear is after waking up from his long sleep. And as the bear in the book wakes to the warmth of spring, the boy has dozed off and his mother kisses him goodnight.
If reading with your child at bedtime is something you look forward to all day, this book has your name all over it. Author Kate Banks captures all the best parts of sharing stories with little ones, including the curiosity, the repetition and the sense of closeness that makes it so special. The sleeping bear presents a great juxtaposition to the boy who is falling asleep as he listens to the story. Georg Hallensleben’s acrylic paint artwork has a lot of texture to it, with paint strokes that you can see, almost blurring the line between the world of the storybook and the world of the boy and his mother. Just flipping through this one again has me both yawning and wistfully remembering the joy of reading stories to my little ones many years ago.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that everyone needs sleep and nothing helps that along like a good story.