From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1—It is getting cold and time for hibernation, so Old Man Winter says, "'Sleep, Big Bear, sleep.'/But Big Bear didn't hear very well…." Instead he mishears Old Man Winter and, in attempting to follow his directions, drives a jeep, sweeps a house, climbs a steep mountain, etc. Ultimately, Old Man Winter yells loudly enough for Big Bear to understand him, and the bear heads off to his den for a much-deserved rest. The text moves at a steady clip, and the refrain will encourage child participation. The fact that "sleep" seems unlikely to be mistaken for "climb a mountain steep" or "drive a jeep" probably won't bother the intended audience. The story reads aloud well, and the limited text and oversize illustrations will be effective in storytime. The artwork is the real star here, though. Hillenbrand imbues his characters with motion and personality; their growing exhaustion is evident in their drooping eyes, ears, and body, and their startled expressions when Old Man Winter yells could not be clearer. An above-average addition for libraries looking for more bear, hibernation, or winter stories to freshen up interactive storytimes.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
About the Author
Author Maureen Wright and her husband, Don, have three sons and a daughter-in-law. Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep! is Maureen's first picture book. Maureen and her family live in Athens, Pennsylvania, where bears occasionally lumber across their property. Maureen's second children's book is Sneezy the Snowman. A sequel to the Big Bear Book, Sneeze, Big Bear, Sneeze! will be released in the fall of 2011. Look for Earth Day, Birthday! to come out in the spring of 2012.
Will Hillenbrand has illustrated many beloved picture books, including Kiss the Cow by Phyllis Root; Smash! Mash! Crash! There Goes the Trash! by Barbara Odanka; and What a Treasure! by Jane Hillenbrand. He also wrote and illustrated another Christmas story, Asleep in the Stable. Will enjoys visiting classrooms to talk about the creative process involved in making a picture book. He lives with his wife, Jane, and their son, Ian, in Terrace Park, Ohio.