From School Library Journal
PreS—Most books about a child's first bed focus on a youngster's resistance to change or a new baby that needs the crib. Bergstein's book takes a natural approach by comparing a boy's growth to how different animals mature. In simple terms, each sequence describes how three animals are born, carried by their parents, take their first steps, and sleep in their own cozy small places and shows how a child parallels the experience. As the animals get bigger, each one graduates to a larger sleeping area, just as the boy is now able to do. The absence of the anxiety, whining, or excuses common to books of this ilk is refreshing. Rather, moving to a big bed is simply explained as the next step in the process of growing up. Soft pictures of birds, a sea turtle, a kangaroo, a koala bear, a dog, and a horse precede pictures of the youngster and his parents. The final spread, bathed in shades of blue, features several of the creatures asleep in their resting places as the boy and his teddy bear, shown through a window, are safe in their own bed. This sweet book provides a gentle, matter-of-fact introduction to a sometimes-difficult transition, and should be a first purchase for most picture-book collections.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT
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Like Alison McGhee’s Bye-Bye Crib (2008), this well-designed title sends a comforting message to children facing the transition to a big-kid bed. Through comparisons to the animal world, Bergstein shows preschoolers that each step in their growth is natural and universal, and her direct address to young listeners adds to the story’s reassuring, intimate tone. Beginning spreads show a baby flamingo, alligator, and sea turtle emerging from their shells. Then, “they all came out—and so did you!” Hartung’s softly shaded, clearly defined illustrations follow pictures of animal mothers and babies with a pair of human parents delighting over their new arrival. Later spreads compare more animal and human growth milestones (“Soon they all took their first steps—and so did you!”), closing with scenes of young animals snuggled in their own cozy burrows and a young boy asleep in a twin bed. The cyclical story line echoes the soothing sounds and rhythms in the simple words, while Hartung’s careful blue palette portrays nighttime as restful and inviting rather than scary. A lovely, sensitive offering. --Gillian Engberg
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