Written and Illustrated by Elisha Cooper
Greenwillow Books, 2006
Bear can’t sleep.
The plot in a nutshell: A young bear wants to play instead of hibernate.
Bear doesn’t think it’s fair that he has to hibernate during the winter while other animals gets to play. So he leaves his cave and talks to the other animals. He tells the rabbits that he wants to race and tells the moose that he wants to wrestle. He wants to climb trees with the woodpecker and fly across the lake with the geese. The animals suggest they might get tired and want to rest, but Bear doesn’t want to rest. He just wants to play more. His parents find him asleep on a rock and bring him inside where he will sleep all winter.
Author/illustrator Elisha Cooper initially started this book as a sequel to Magic Thinks Big, but eventually changed the cat from that book to a bear in this one. And this bear, in the grand tradition of fictional bears, doesn’t want to hibernate. This makes sense, of course, when you think about how hard human kids sometimes fight against bedtime and that’s just one night of sleeping. Imagine asking them to shut down for months! The watercolor and pencil artwork is lovely, particularly in the way the sky’s color changes from bright morning yellow to a dark blue at night. It’s a very easy book to read with a calm and quiet feel that would make it a great bedtime book for those kids who have trouble switching off at night.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that in spite of how fun the world can be, having some restful down time is very important.