Review: The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks

bear in the book

The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks, illustrated by Georg Hallensleben

A little boy sits in bed reading a book with his mother.  It’s a book about a bear getting ready to sleep for the winter.  The boy and his mother share the story together, talking about the pictures and the bear.  The bear eats and eats, getting ready to hibernate until he finally curls up and falls asleep.  Then the snow comes, and the little boy can almost feel the cold from the page of the book.  He looks closely at the pictures and finds hidden animals in the snowy landscape.  The snow continues and the boy snuggles in closer, the bear sleeps on.  As spring nears, the boy gets sleepy.  Just as the bear is about to wake up, the boy falls asleep for the night.  Now it’s his turn to sleep long and deep in a cozy bed.

This book is pure joy.  It celebrates both the written word and the art of the picture book.  Even more so though, it celebrates the connection built by sharing a book right before bed.  Just as the boy could feel the winter emanating from the page, here you can feel the warmth and coziness.  With my librarian hat on, I am delighted to see a book that models what reading aloud to a small child should look like.  There should be conversations about the pictures, questions and answers about what is happening in the story, looking at the colors on the page, finding hidden animals, and much more activity than simply reading a story aloud. 

Hallensleben’s illustrations have a gorgeous rough texture to them.  The paint is lovely and thick, resulting in rich colors that add to that feeling of warmth and home.  They also bridge the connection between the book and the family reading together, flowing seamlessly back and forth, uniting as an entire story.

Highly recommended, this is a book that will have you curled up and sharing it with your own little one immediately.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.