A Story for Small Bear

Random/Schwartz & Wade. Oct. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984852274.
Toddler-PreS–It’s late autumn, and it is time for Small Bear to settle down with her mama for the winter. Small Bear asks her mother if there will be time for stories before they must sleep, to which Mama replies that she would love that, as long as there is no dilly and no dally in their remaining preparations. Small Bear finds that there are so many fun activities and temptations to linger, but continues to remember Mama Bear’s caution not to dilly or dally. Finally, they return to their den as the sun is setting, snuggle together in their spruce-bough nest, and in a sly bit of metafiction, Mama Bear begins to tell a story about a small bear who likes play, but loves time for stories. In warm autumnal hues, full-page collage illustrations resembling torn tissue paper enhance the lyrical story and invoke a cozy atmosphere. The subtle message about self-regulation and working toward earned rewards is an additional bonus.
VERDICT This is a lovely, feel-good addition to the hibernation-themed canon, to be savored during story times or one-on-one sharing at bedtime.

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