Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?
This warm, charming look at a small bear's fear of the dark is right on target for the preschool set. As Big Bear sits by the cozy fire trying to read, Little Bear, frightened of ``the dark all around us,'' cannot fall asleep. Sympathetic Big Bear lights lanterns in several sizes, attempting to banish the dark from the corners of their cave, but Little Bear wants more. Finally, when he is taken outside, cuddled close, and shown a full moon and twinkling stars, sleep comes instantly. Big Bear's compassion for his small charge is most evident in his loving facial expressions and in the warmth of the full-page watercolor and soft pencil illustrations. Blue arched borders around pages showing indoor scenes give the impression of looking into the cave from the dark outside; they provide a clear contrast to the wide-open snowy woodland settings at the book's beginning and end. Little Bear is the epitome of everychild, persistently (but endearingly) pestering for a little more attention and one last hug. The soft banter between the two characters, combined with a touch of repetitive phrasing, add to the book's strong child appeal. It's bound to become a beloved bedtime ritual in many households.