Carefully applied colored pencil suggests the fog that causes three gophers to lose their way in the woods, and--like Goldilocks--enter an empty but comfortable house. More timid than their fairy-tale counterpart, the gophers are hesitant, but they are so tired, they finally tuck themselves into the large bed. Their sleep is not sound, however, because they are soon joined by two bunnies and three raccoons also seeking shelter. The various saws hanging on the wall make the animals a bit apprehensive: Have they stumbled upon the house of a witch? And hearts beat faster when a huge figure enters and looms over the quaking critters. Fortunately, though, Mr. Bear is a welcoming host, who serves his guests hot stew, then climbs into bed with them to sleep until the fog-free morning. The pictures hint at the identity of the home owner; the Japanese printing on pot labels and book titles reveals the story's origin. The cozy interiors, appealingly drawn animals, and familiar themes transcend cultural borders. Ellen Mandel
A comforting bedtime tale is this reissue of a picture book first published in 1982 (only its jacket has been revised). With low-key color-penciled illustrations in soft pastel shades, artist Yasuko Koide perfectly complements his wife Tan's spare and mildly suspenseful tale about three gophers, two bunny rabbits, and a trio of raccoons who take shelter in a mysteriously unoccupied house when they lose their way in the fog as night falls. When "something huge and dark" walks in on them, all snuggled comfortably in a big four-poster bed, listeners/viewers will fear the worst. But the bear in this tale, unlike the ursine threesome in Goldilocks and the Three Bears
, turns out to be a perfect host. He treats his small trespassers to some hot stew before joining them in bed to sleep soundly till the morning. A simple tale, simply told and illustrated, May We Sleep Here Tonight?
is sure to please as many toddlers today as it did 20 years ago during the last millennium.
Reviewed by Selma G. Lanes, Parents' Choice® 2000 -- From Parents' Choice®
Roger Sutton Horn Book Magazine "Great!...My hands-down favorite to close a story hour." -- Review