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Sleepy Bears


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About the Author

MEM FOX is the beloved author of Koala Lou, Time for Bed, Possum Magic, and The Magic Hat, as well as many other popular books for children. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia. KERRY ARGENT has illustrated many picture books, including Mem Fox's Wombat Divine and Dinnertime! by Sue Williams. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia.


Mother Bear's six children are balking at bedding down for the winter, but she coaxes them under the patchwork quilt with a clever stratagem: each cub gets a personalized bedtime rhyme. Baxter Bear hears about a pirate adventure: "Raise the skull and crossbones,/ Breathe the salty air,/ Find your treasure, count your gold,/ And sleep without a care!" In Tosca Bear's rhyme, the aspiring princess wears "a crown of diamonds for your head,/ And gorgeous gowns of silken thread." By the end, everyone is fast asleep, and it's up to a stuffed elephant to blow out the bedroom candle. Argent (previously paired with Fox for Wombat Divine) depicts the various bedtime fantasies with gusto in double-page, full-bleed spreads; one tableau showing a cub/hunter holding onto a magnificently rendered tiger by the tail is particularly striking. Following each rhyme, the book returns to the same wide-angle view of Mother and cubs under the quilt, each sleeping cub magically acquiring an accessory from his or her dream (e.g., Baxter sports an eye patch and pirate's hat; Tosca has donned crown and wimple). They look cuddly and warm, curled up together in a room suffused with golden candlelightÄitself an enticement, since most children love the idea of a family bed, whether or not their parents do. With its sweetly varied scenarios, this amiable bedtime book offers a little something for everyone. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

PreS-Gr 1-A cleverly written bedtime book with very distinct characters, each with its own hibernation-time rhyme. Mother Bear tucks in her six cubs, sending them off on dreamy adventures. Baxter dreams of pirates, Bella of the circus, Winifred of the jungle, Tosca of kingdoms, Ali of divine foods, and Baby Bear of moonbeams. "And all of them slept until spring." The rhymes are well written, and the charming pictures, done in gouache, watercolor, and colored pencil, are full of funny details. When the cubs are in bed waiting to drift off, the room is draped in a yellow hue lit by candle. Dream scenes show distant lands with the youngsters sleeping peacefully in the corners. On the penultimate page, the bears are lined up across the bed in hats or headdresses that represent their particular dreams. A fuzzy, stuffed blue elephant that plays and rests with the bears throughout the book blows out the candle on the final page. A fanciful story that's sure to be popular.-Shelley Woods, Boston Public Library, MA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

It is bedtime for the Bear family, and Mother Bear climbs into the big bed first, with all her six children tumbling in around her. One by one they `yawn a BIG yawn', and Mother Bear tells each of them a special bedtime story to take them off to dreamland. She must know all her children very well, for her stories reflect their individual interests: Baxter sails off in a pirate ship; Bella becomes a trapeze artist; Lucy hunts tigers in the jungle; and Tosca dreams of being a fairytale queen. Greedy Ali (who took his supper to bed with him) is sent off `dreaming of scrumptiousness all through the night', while Baby Bear, last of all, cuddles up under his mother's chin with a lullaby; `and they all fell faaaast asleep in their soft feather bed. And all of them slept until spring'. The gentle, repetitive text should prove suitably soporific for young human sleepyheads, while Kerry Argent's warm, amusing illustrations highlight the personalities of each little bear, from Ali with his bowl of cornflakes to the twins and their floppy toy elephant who takes the final bow. Picture-book format. Ages two to four. Margaret Dunkle is a children's author, bookseller and reviewer. C. 1999 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

With its sweetly varied scenarios, this amiable bedtime book offers a little something for everyone.--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Restful, relaxing, rhythmical rhymes to soothe any child at bedtime. Once a night may not be enough to satisfy the listener or the reader.--Bookselling This Week
A bewitching collection of sleepy time rhymes.--Kirkus Reviews

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