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[Saturday Reads] Bedtime, Sniffles, and Library Book for Bear (and Mouse) – A 3-in-1 Special


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just booklove miscellany in general.

Widget courtesy of the talented Iphigene.
Widget courtesy of the talented Iphigene.

Part of our current reading theme this January-February gives love to CYBILS. I am privileged to once again be part of the Second Round Judges for the Fiction Picture Book Category along with several other amazing kidlit enthusiasts.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 4.52.17 pm

Second Round Judges for Fiction Picture Books 2014

Julie Larios
Books Around the Table

Dawn Mooney
5 Minutes for Books

Jennifer Reed

Julie Rowan-Zoch
Julie Rowan-Zoch

As I was going through the nominated titles that didn’t make it to the top seven, there was one particular title that appealed to me “A Library Book for Bear.” When I hunted the book down at the library, I realized that there were actually quite a few books by the same team of author and illustrator, so I borrowed all of them.

IMG_9217A Bedtime For Bear

Written by: Bonny Becker Illustrated by: Kady MacDonald Denton
Published by: Candlewick Press, 2010
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

This is the first bear and mouse book I was able to find from the library, and I immediately became a fan. Mouse came over to Bear’s house for a sleepover. At the get-go, Bear was already surprised to find Mouse with his suitcase at the door, believing that they agreed on “Tuesday night” for the sleepover rather than that evening. But hey, what to do? Mouse with his wiggling happy whiskers and cute red suitcase is already at the front door, waiting to be welcomed.


The plot thickens when the reader discovers that the curmudgeonly Bear is quite particular when it comes to his bedtime rituals – persnickety would be a better term, really. He needs absolute quiet at bedtime, with his glass of water placed on his nightstand, nightcap, favourite pillow, and snug comfortable bed, he expects everything to be just so, regardless of Mouse’s presence. But of course, the playful, mischievous Mouse has other plans:


How the friends are able to resolve this, I shall leave for you to discover. This would be a perfect book to readaloud to children, especially those fond of sleepovers. What really got me is this beautiful illustration:


showing that friends do not necessarily always have to get along, nor do they have to be absolutely similar, for them to be alike in the most important ways.

The Sniffles for BearIMG_9223

Written by: Bonny Becker Illustrated by: Kady MacDonald Denton
Published byCandlewick Press, 2011
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

In this book, as the title clearly shows, Bear has the sniffles. Not only is Bear even-more-grumpy-than-usual, he also seems to have theatrical qualities which apparently, only manifest itself, when he is sick. With dramatic flair, he announces to Mouse that he “may not be long for this world” and that Mouse with all his upbeat, joyful disposition was simply much too cheerful.


With infinite patience, Mouse helps his sick friend and does all that he possibly can to make him feel better: from playing a tune in his tiny banjo, singing She’ll be coming ’round the mountain to helping Bear write down his last will and testament – the image below, though, is my absolute favourite:


Whether or not Bear gets better, I shall leave for you to discover. The twist in the end, I thought, was thoughtfully-considered and nicely-done.

IMG_9228A Library Book For Bear

Written by: Bonny Becker Illustrated by: Kady MacDonald Denton
Published by: Candlewick Press, 2014
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Now this is the latest title in the Bear and Mouse series that was nominated for the CYBILS for 2014, and my favourite from these three books, probably because it appealed to the biblio-geek in me.


Mouse asked the quintessentially-grumpy Bear to go with him to the Library. At the onset, Bear was already upset about the entire idea of going to a library. After all, he already has seven perfectly nice books at home – anything else is simply too excessive, and too extravagant, and completely unnecessary.


I just love this image of Bear next to the library. The play in perspective, and the enormity of this edifice is clearly demonstrated here – and most likely is reflective too of how very young children may initially regard the library, before they discover that it can be a place of enchantment, of eternal wonders.


With Mouse’s trademark disposition: patient, pleasant, and good natured, he continues to entice Bear to check out titles that could appeal to him. Bear refuses to be humored as he only wants a book about pickles – and he already has one of those at home! What need does he have of another? Plus, all the books that Mouse brings seem ridiculous or absurd (dancing pickles? seriously?). And to top it off, Bear does not seem to know what a ‘library voice’ should be like.


He was determined to go back home without any library book, until he accidentally chanced upon a read-aloud by the librarian.


Whether or not this changes things for Bear, I shall leave for you to discover. This is a funny, thoroughly engaging and amusing book that is sure to catch the fancy of both young readers and the young-at-heart. A definite must-read. 🙂


A Bedtime for Bear is an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award Winner; Junior Library Guild Selection 2010

#AWBRead2015 Update: 9 of 35

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

2 comments on “[Saturday Reads] Bedtime, Sniffles, and Library Book for Bear (and Mouse) – A 3-in-1 Special

  1. Simply said…I LOVE the bear and mouse books 🙂


  2. Pingback: [Monday Reading] Finding Life’s Meaning, Traveling the World, and Coming Home in Existential Picturebooks for Children (and the young at heart) – Gathering Books

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