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Sunday, January 04, 2015

Hibernation Helper: A Bed for Bear by Clive McFarland

IT WAS ALMOST WINTER, AND BERNARD WAS GETTING SLEEPY.

THERE WAS JUST ONE PROBLEM.

HOW COULD BERNARD POSSIBLY BE EXPECTED TO SLEEP IN THE BEAR CAVE?

IT WAS TOO NOISY AND TOO CROWDED.

Mom and the other cubs were already denning down, but Bernard, apparently a picky sleeper, picks up his pillow and heads out to find a better crib in which to crash!

Frog reports that his pad is possibly available, but when Bernard tries to hop onto one of the lily pads by the shore, he finds that a lake bed is WET!

There's a beehive, but it's obviously too busy and buzzy, and he accepts Bird's offer to try out his nest. Bernard makes a mess of it, while deciding it's too windy for sleeping up there. He nearly wrecks Rabbit's burrow, only to discover that it only accommodates his upper half. Hedgehog is no help, since he sleeps rough in the rain, and when Bernard beds down in Badger's sett, he promptly gets a firm eviction notice.

Then Mouse, who's been watching at a discrete distance all along, finally comes forth with a suggestion. Bernard is ready to accept any assistance at this point, and Mouse leads him back the way he came, to a familiar-looking cave. And by this time, his eyes barely half open, Bernard sees his mom's den in a new light, in Clive McFarland's humorous look at hibernation, A Bed for Bear (Harper, 2014). McFarland's narration and illustrative style has the dry, deadpan humor of Bonnie Becker's delightful A Visitor for Bear (Bear and Mouse). McFarland's artistic style is quite different, being stylized and digitally enhanced, but offers the same wry approach that charms the reader. And as a bedtime story, this one has the advantage of easing the listener closer and closer to that good nighty-night.

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