Groundhog Day – Back to Bed!

51b678tjjl_ss400_Lynn: The blizzard is piling up SO much snow here that any sane groundhog will stay curled up in his den!  Going back to a warm bed sounds SO enticing on this cold winter day but I have three energetic little boys here who slept over last night.  However, for all of us who are inside for the duration, we have two cozy picture books that pair perfectly with winter storytimes or bedtime snuggles.

A Bedtime for Bear (Candlewick 2010) by Bonny Becker tickled the focus group’s funny bone and made me wonder if Becker has been sneaking peeks into the nighttime routines in MY bedroom.  I’m not naming names but someone I live with is a LOT like Bear.

Everything had to be just so for Bear’s bedtime.

His glass of water had to sit on the exact right spot on his bed stand.

His favorite pillow must be nicely fluffed.

His nightcap needed to be snug.

Most of all, it had to be quiet – very, very quiet.

So when Mouse arrives to spend the night, Bear is dubious.  Mouse tries hard but he can’t help making just a little bit of noise.  Bear is tormented until at last all is perfectly quiet, everything is just the way Bear likes it.  But wait – perhaps it is too quiet!  And then Bear hears a spooky noise!  WAKE UP Mouse!

Kady MacDonald Denton’s soft watercolor, ink and gouache illustrations are in sleepy pastel colors.  Plump bear and tiny mouse are completely charming and Denton gets so much personality with just a few skillful lines. Bear’s expressions are especially funny as he tries unsuccessfully to settle down to sleep.  A funny resolution and a sleep-inducing last page will have readers snuggling into their own blankets.

read-to-tigerCindy: Lynn knows I’ve been struggling to concentrate on my reading recently, so when she found this book and gave it to me, I wasn’t sure if it was just a blog suggestion, or bibliotheraphy! Either way, Read to Tiger (Penguin/Viking, 2010) is a winner. There’s nothing better than a quiet evening on a couch with a good book…unless there’s a tiger lurking behind your couch ready to distract you from your reading. This tiger has quite an imagination–one of my favorite spreads involves him practicing his karate and hii-yaaa-ing. The antics on the page, complete with sound effects that young readers (or listeners) will enjoy recreating are just delightful. R. W. Alley’s colorful illustrations are full of whimsy and reading-distraction action. The simple solution to the story’s problem should lead into another few books for parents who are trying to tame their own tigers. I’ve learned there is an earlier book, Tiger Can’t Sleep, so I’m off to hunt down that one. I’ve been having problems in the sleeping department, too…

blizzard-2011-compressedAnd it is officially a blizzard here in West Michigan (and in many other states)…and a great day to curl up with a good book. I’m currently camped in Valley Forge and the snow swirling outside my window couldn’t provide a better setting to see from my reading chair. This photo doesn’t do justice to the wind and snow that is still coming or the extent of the drifts on my deck…a black squirrel has been amusing me with his attempts to scamper down the deck rail…he keeps getting stuck on the higher than usual pile of snow and his legs won’t reach the deck rail to give him purchase. He flails his legs around balanced on his stomach on top of the snow. Hilarious. Through the deck rail you can see the tarped cover of our tiki bar…it’s not as much fun to shovel the roof of the tiki bar in the winter as it is to read under the thatched roof in the warm summer–although the mugs stay frosty longer!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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