Nighty-Night: A Bedtime for Bear by Bonnie Becker
Everything had to be just so for Bear's bedtime.
The glass of water had to sit on the exact right spot on his nightstand.
His favorite pillow must be nicely fluffed.
The nightcap needed to be snug.
Most of all it had to be quiet--very, VERY quiet.
Bear is clearly set for a quiet evening. Slippers on feet, feet on footstool, an afghan across his legs, and a book balanced on his ample belly, Bear is seated in his easy chair before his cheery fire, ready for a cozy read.
TAP. TAP. TAP. TAP.
Bear glares in the direction of the offending door knocker. A visitor? Visitors usually mean mess and noise! Who could it be?
Well, who else on his doorstep but a mouse, small and gray and bright-eyed--with his little red valise, obviously anticipating a sleepover.
Bother! Was it tonight he invited Mouse to sleep over? But then Mouse did remember his birthday, so perhaps he is right. Tonight is the night.
Bear settles down with Mouse to a companionable game of checkers and after sharing mugs of warm cocoa, it’s time for the sleep-over friends to turn in. Bear prepares Mouse a comfy bed, pulling out the top drawer of his bedside table and providing a pillow and a blue blanket. Then he lays down the ground rules:
“REMEMBER, I MUST HAVE ABSOLUTE QUIET,” reminded Bear.
But Mouse can’t quite meet Bear’s standards.
“Bristle, Bristle, Bristle,” goes mouse’s little toothbrush. “Hmmm, hum-pa, pummmm,” he hums as he pulls on his nightshirt. “ ”Good night,” he calls, just as Bear has decided it’s safe to close his eyes..
“MY EARS ARE VERY SENSITIVE!” cried Bear.
“Really. How interesting!” said Mouse..... Mouse slipped from his bed, went into the closet, and said in the tiniest possible voice into the farthest, darkest teeniest possible corner of the closet...
“Surely you can’t . . .
“WILL THIS TORMENT NEVER CEASE!" roared Bear. “SILENCE”
“Sorry, Bear. Good night.” whispered Mouse.
At last it’s quiet enough for Bear to sleep. But he can’t. There are strange noises in his bedroom, rustly, low moany noises. “I know it’s YOU, Mouse,” he says softly, but Mouse is deep in dreamland. There's that sound again. At last Bear can’t bear his fears alone.
“WAKE UP, MOUSE!”
As always, Mouse knows just what to do to calm Bear's anxiety. Pretending to be frightened himself, he peers under the bed and under the curtains, and at last asks Bear to tell him a soothng bedtime story that finally sends both of them off to dreamland.
Ably assisted by Kady MacDonald Denton's cozy watercolor and gouache illustrations, Bonny Becker’s latest Bear and Mouse story, A Bedtime for Bear (Bear and Mouse) (Candlewick, 2010, with its quiet, wry humor and subtle interplay between this odd couple of two very different friends, is a gentle joy.
Bear and Mouse, best friends forever!