Stunning colors illustrate this brilliant goodnight story. It is an excellent choice to read at bedtime!
Picture book, fiction
Interest Level: K-3; Reading Level: 2.1
5 out of 5 stars
Chris Haughton’s illustrations really carry the weight of this story about a little bear who isn’t quite ready to go to bed when the other forest animals are.
With rich shades of blues, reds, and purples, Haughton has us follow Little Bear at bedtime. I love this illustration as it shows the contrast between the text, “everyone is sleepy” and the wide eyes of Little Bear that just peek through a bush. At this point, the story begins to follow a pattern. First, all the animals are sleepy and yawn. We see the same repeated pattern of words as we witness the mice, rabbits, deer, and finally Great Big Bear take settling breaths and all yawn. Except for Little Bear. Then the same type of pattern repeats, this time with little bear visiting each group to see if they want to play, only to be told “we’re too tired.” Finally, sleep, and the deepening darkness of night catch of to Little Bear and he mimics the stretch and yawn pattern of Great Big Bear from earlier. The final pattern that the reader goes through shows each family asleep and tells them goodnight. The recurring patterns and order of animals is a calming aspect of the story, and lends itself well to bedtime reading. Alert readers of picture books will notice other details of Haughton’s illustrations that make this story truly brilliant.
When we say goodnight to the mice, we see how the soft snore of one of the mice blows a fluffy dandelion seed into the night sky. Alert readers can follow the path of that seed in each of the following illustrations. But that isn’t where the brilliance stops.
Make sure to pay special attention to the endpapers inside the book cover. The front endpaper shows the constellations when the night sky is in the southern hemisphere. If you look closely at the illustration of the earth and location of the moon, you can see the shapes of the animals in the story and see that they appear to be awake. The back endpaper illustrates the opposite — the night sky in the northern hemisphere, and the animals on the earth appear to be asleep. Haughton has also highlighted the Little Bear and Great Bear where the constellation appears in the night sky. I love the idea that the reader has put Little Bear and Great Big Bear to sleep in the story, and now we can see them sleeping in the night sky.
Look very, very closely at the endpapers and you can also see that dandelion seed! The path it takes as it floats into the night sky can be traced from the back endpaper right back around to the front endpaper, where it can be seen floating to earth. Those tiny details, and the fact that every part of the book is used to complete the story make this a masterpiece.
by Chris Haughton
Candlewick Press, 2016