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The Bear in the Book
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The Bear in the Book

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3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  266 ratings  ·  86 reviews
It's time for bed, and a little boy chooses his favorite book for his mother to read to him. The bear inthe book is preparing for his own deep slumber, hibernating through the winter while humans and other animals explore the snowy landscape around him. Just when the bear wakes up to greet the spring, the boy drifts off to sleep. Kate Banks’soft and rhythmic textis brought ...more
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Community Reviews

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Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: THE BEAR IN THE BOOK by Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben, ill., Farrar, Straus & Giroux, October 2012, 36p., ISBN: 978-0-374-305918

“Crocuses popped up through the earth.
A fox drank from a pond.
‘I’m thirsty,’ said the little boy,
His mother got him a glass of water.
The boy held the book. He listened to the sound
the pages made when he turned them back and forth.
‘Shh,’ he said to the sleeping bear.”

The last time I wrote about the circle time movement song “Sleeping Bears” was f
...more
Mari
A quiet, sweet, bedtime cuddle book that does a great job of modeling all that a reading together experience can be. The story sparks talk about how a boy and his mother feel and what they like. It makes the boy think and ask questions, which his mom answers. The two snuggle as they read, making it clear that this is special time that they both enjoy. This book in NOT didactic, but to those of us who try and encourage reading together in ways that help young people's brains grown, this is lovely ...more
Jim Erekson
The post-modern turn of the book about a book experience is not something new. Hallensleben's control of composition captured the expansive material feeling of a picture book. His renditions of page turns, crossing the gutter, and having your body immersed in the world of the book all felt fresh and were my favorite parts of the book. Banks' words added to this experience giving a little of the boy and his mom, and a little of the book with each set of words.

But. Yet another book about bedtime?
...more
Tamara
There is a LOT going on here. A bedtime story, a hibernation story, a story within a story...book awareness, seek & find, color identification...

Packed with early literacy goodies, but seemed a bit disjointed to me. Might work well if read repeatedly over consecutive nights?
Tasha
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 a ...more
The Library Lady
THIS is the sort of book that should've won the Caldecott instead of soon to date hipster crap.

The experience of being curled up warm in bed, reading with a loving parent, is universal and timeless. The interaction between parent and child is exactly what all the librarians who genuflect thrice daily to the tenets of "Every Child Ready to Read" are supposed to be striving towards. And the art is beautiful without being fussy with texture that is almost tactile.

When books about fish w/hats and c
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Kathleen
Listening to a bedtime story about a bear hibernating a small boy falls asleep.
This perfect picture book is a celebration of bedtime story time. The listener is very young, maybe 2 or 3. He names animals in the pictures and experiences the bookness of the book, its sharp corners and pages that turn. He gets distracted, gets a drink, and pays attention again. The art is completely child-like, especially the house with the smoke coming from the chimney, but the movement in these illustrations keep
...more
Melissa
A gentle celebration of the bedtime reading ritual. Very nice model of what reading to kids can look like; sharing, talking, making connections.
Kerri
This is the picture book version of inception. A book within a book.
Edward Sullivan
Lovely bedtime story with a playful POV.
Destinee Sutton
I love that this book captures the cozy, safe feeling of being read to as a small child. You could use this book with adults to demonstrate the importance of reading to your children, and how to interact with the book and the child at the same time. Like when the mother says "Shh" because the bear is sleeping, or when they point out the different colors in the illustrations.

I'm going to try this in my evening story time and see if the kids are as lulled by it as I was.

Update: I tried it in sto
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Kyle Turck
The Bear in the Book was a decent read, but I really thought it took an interesting concept and didn't really go anywhere with it. The illustrations were very good throughout though. The story is about a mother reading a bedtime story to her child, which is about a bear that is sleeping as well, so it is kind of a book inside a book story. The idea was interesting, but the two stories to me felt more forced together than tied together.

I would recommend this to young children, kindergarten age fo
...more
Sharon Lawler
This bedtime story could easily be used as a concept book, comparing the bear's hibernation to the child's bedtime rituals or contrasting the passage of time for the bear and the child. I could feel the soft fur of the bear on the cover, and a couple of the illustrations I would frame.
Samantha
A boy sits down to read his favorite picture book with his mother before bed. The story is about a bear that hibernates. As the bear is waking up from his long slumber, the boy is drifting off to sleep.

Illustrations really work to bring the reader into the story as at first the point of view is the book about the bear as seen over the child's shoulder and then the focus on the story widens to encompass the entire page. Vibrant paintings bring the story within a story to life and support text sea
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Clarissa
I love Kate Banks. This is a book about a boy and his mother reading a book about a bear, and talking about the book.
Aprilj328
A young boy and his mother read a book about a bear hibernating for the winter.
Reading, Bears, Hibernation
Clacie
I love books within books & this story was cute.
Lara
Ehhhh...this one didn't really work for me, though I could see it being a nice, calming book to read aloud to your child before bedtime or something. That's basically what happens in the book--a mom reads a book about bears to her kid while we look on. It's kind of an odd concept, but actually sort of works. I wish the art were stronger though--it's nice, but certainly doesn't stand out. Some kids and parents might really enjoy this one, especially if they're in the mood for something restful. I ...more
Jo Sorrell
A good go to sleep story
Robin
A quiet bedtime book, with the ritual of a little boy choosing his favorite bedtime book, and a story of a bear hibernating (story within a story). Great modeling -- how the mother explains as she reads to the little boy, answers his questions as they share the time together (and that's what I appreciate most about this book -- the representation of this special reading time.)


Author and illustrator reside in France. Illustrator of the Gaspard & Lisa books. Very painterly style.
Karen Burt
This book contains colorful illustrations that bring the seasons to life. The child in the story is going to bed and his mother is reading him a bedtime story about the bear sleeping. The story explains what happens as a bear is sleeping and just as the bear wakes up from his long winter's nap the boy falls asleep. The text has a rhythmic cadence that makes this an easy read. It also is a very calming book, great for bedtime or naptime.
Mary
This is a beautiful narrative story about a little boy and his mother as the little boy prepares for bed. His mother reads him his favorite story about a bear and the little boy falls asleep. The images are beautiful, although they are not imperative to the story. They are lovely paintings with vivid colors and textures. This would be a good story to read to a child even over the phone.
Sandy Brehl
This book works on many levels- bedtime book, science lesson, or model for would-be readers-to-children. Perhaps I've spent too long coaching beginning teachers, but I had to read this the second time to enjoy it from a child's view. The first time through I couldn't stop focusing on how well it portrays a read-aloud interaction with a child and a picture book.
Dashka
Another soothing and lyrical Kate Banks/Georg Hallensleben collaboration, this is a departure in that it's also metafiction, lushly evoking the experience of reading a familiar book while also being the familiar book. Yet it manages to keep this complex concept from overbalancing the simple and quiet intimacy of the book itself.
Leandra Cate
I appreciate the sort of post-modern attempt at self-conscious storytelling, but I thought this was poorly phrased for a book that will (probably) be read aloud. My child was probably too young for this book (under 2) but it didn't capture her interest despite an avid interest in bears. I thought it was pretty boring.
Tracie
A mother reads her child his favorite bedtime story: the story of a big black bear getting ready for his own deep winter slumber. Rhythmic text and vibrant paintings capture the tender interplay between a child's nighttime ritual and a bear's annual hibernation, making this the perfect pick for a long, snowy evening.
Ingrid
I love this team, but the concept of this book just doesn't work for me. It's basically a book about a book being read to a small boy. I guess it celebrates the idea of a favorite book and a cozy bedtime routine, but I found it a little confusing. He illustration are beautiful and certainly evoke a sleepy mood.
Lu Benke
The cover illustration is great---in-your-face baby bear with a brilliant blue background. That's it folks. The rest is ho-hum, for me, at least. No storyline to speak of other than the overdone going-to-bed bit. The illustrations never make it to the same level of engaging as the cover. Pass.
Allison
Dec 31, 2012 Allison added it
Shelves: children
I was enchanted by this story that weaves in and out of reality as a mother lovingly reads a bedtime book to her young son. I found it almost heartbreakingly beautiful, and loved the interaction between text and illustration. My four-year-old, however, was puzzled. Eh! Everyone's a critic.
Jenny
Beautiful artwork. The structure of the story was interesting as we experience the book from different perspectives: that of the boy (who is being read to by his mother), that of the mother, and that of the reader of this book. It helps to cuddle up with a little one as you read it!
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Kate Banks has written many books for children, among them Max’s Words, And If the Moon Could Talk, winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and The Night Worker, winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award. She grew up in Maine, where she and her two sisters and brother spent a lot of time outdoors, and where Banks developed an early love of reading. “I especially liked picture books,” she says, “an ...more
More about Kate Banks...
Max's Words Max's Castle City Cat Max's Dragon The Cat Who Walked Across France

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