Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?
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Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? (Little Bear #1)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  2,849 ratings  ·  95 reviews
It's bedtime, and Little Bear can't get to sleep. He's frightened of the dark, the dark all around, which not even Big Bear's largest lantern can light up. Big Bear finds a way to show Little Bear that there is no need to be afraid.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 1988 by Walker Books
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4.5 STARS Awww, shucks. This is so darn cute! I really enjoyed this gentle tale (that is not without humor) about Little Bear who can't get to sleep because of his fear of the dark, and patient and resourceful Big Bear who helps him through his fears (even though Big Bear has a very exciting part of his book to read and keeps getting interrupted!) The illustrations are darling and I loved how, in the end, Big Bear wanted Little Bear to confront his fear of the dark, but did so in a very gentle a...more
This book is about Little Bear who cannot fall asleep because he's afraid of the dark. Little Bear tosses and turns as he tries to sleep but to no avail. Big Bear sees Little Bear in distress so he stops reading his book and gives Little Bear a small lantern to sleep with, however, it seems this isn't enough for Little Bear. Little Bear still tosses and turns so Big Bear has to stop reading his book again to get him some more light. But again, Little Bear cannot sleep because there is too much d...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
So cute, and so true. I love how little bear tries and tries to go to sleep, by doing somersaults and hanging half off his bed. Perfect for a bedtime book!
I have come across this book whilst on my first placement in a Special School. My severe learning difficulties nursery class are reading the book as part of their literacy lessons which they absolutely love. However as they are so young and don’t yet have the cognitive ability to have this book read to them fully as a class they have the story read to them as a sensory story – which I have found fascinating.

The plot of the story is about a two bears, a big bear and a little bear that live in a...more
Niamh Delahunty
This is a story about a little bear that is afraid of the dark, yet overcomes this fear with the help of Big Bear, a portrayal similar to parent and child and hence easy to relate to the comfort sought and the comfort given.

"I don't like the dark," said Little Bear.
"What dark?" said Big Bear.
"The dark all around us," said Little Bear

This story depicts patience and kindness on the part of big bear, where he goes to great lengths to help little bear realise that the dark is nothing to be afraid o...more
Alice Nachir
This book is about Little Bear who cannot get to sleep because he's afraid of the dark. Little Bear tosses and turns as he tries to sleep but cannot. Big Bear is reading a book in the next room and gets up to give Little Bear a small lantern to sleep with, however, Little Bear still can't sleep so Big Bear has brings him some more light. But again, Little Bear cannot sleep because there is still too much dark! Big Bear has an idea- he will take Little bear out of the cave and cradle him by the l...more
Can't you sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell is a lovely story about the relationship of Big Bear and Little Bear which mirrors that of a parent and child. Little Bear is afraid of the dark and with the help of Big Bear he overcomes his fear. Themes of patience, kindness and love run through the story as it focuses on Little Bear having trouble sleeping in the dark. Big Bear, although reading his Bear Book, continues to get up and help Little Bear overcome his fear by setting up lanterns, one...more
Why does this book have such high ratings? The illustrations are cute, but otherwise, way too repetitive to not be boring, both my 5 yr old and preschoolers had a hard time staying engaged in this story. A cute idea, but falls short, since it's way too wordy for the younger crowd, even though the concept is geared toward them.
Jul 03, 2009 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a sweet story, and one that I can relate with. On countless nights, I have just settled down with a book when I hear, "Mama! I can't sleep!" or "Mama, I'm scared." This book does wonders for dispelling the fear of the dark as well as for encouraging the patience of parents everywhere.
Aug 27, 2008 booklady rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to booklady by: my MiL, Grandma Bear
Oh I remember reading this to the girls! It was sweet! Since I've always called my husband, "Bear", my oldest daughter was Little Bear before she was born. Her nursery was in teddy bears. Can I tell she still sleeps with her bear?!
Julia Wickenden
Big Bear and Little Bear are in their cave. Little Bear struggles to sleep. Big Bear is trying to read, but Little Bear keeps disturbing him; he is scared of the dark. Big Bear brings larger and larger lights, but Little Bear is still afraid of the darkness outside. Big Bear takes him outside and shows him the stars, but it is the comfort of being with Big Bear which eventually makes him sleep.

This is a touching story with beautiful pictures. Little Bear's fear of the dark, the frustration of Bi...more
Amazing story! Being an insomniac child, I reckon this little book saved my life, and my mother's!
John Shelley
The best of the Bear series IMHO, text and illustrations perfectly match.
This book is all about a mother and little bear in their cave. The little bear is trying to sleep while mother is reading her book. Unfortunately the little bear can’t sleep and keeps complaining about the dark being everywhere. The mother brings a bigger lantern each time but still there is too much dark. Finally when the whole cave is lit the little bear says it is the dark outside that he doesn’t like. And so the mother takes the little bear outside and shows him the moon. After that both fal...more
Ambreen Bilgrami
This classic tale follows ‘little bear’ who is trying fall asleep but is unable to as he is afraid of the dark. ‘Big bear’ tries to help little bear’s dilemma by bringing in different sized lanterns that he thinks may help. However, this doesn’t work as little bear can still see some dark on the edges of the light. As a result of this, big bear takes little bear outside to see the stars and the moon – the biggest lantern yet. This seems to have done the trick as little bear falls asleep peaceful...more
I bought this book to use as a topic for my class, to learn about light and dark and narrative.

The children loved this story and so did I, it is about a little bear who cannot go to sleep because he is afraid of the dark. The story is about big bear trying to solve this problem until eventually he falls asleep.

The book is beautifully illustrated and the language is good in the story. I also used this book to introduce the children to questions and how we know what they are and when someone is...more
Looking for more dad books, as I believe this will be the first Father's Day theme I've done in storytime. I may have done one a few years ago, but nothing comes to mind. This story is adorable, especially the pictures. A little repetitive, but kids like that. I'm worried about the amount of text on some pages. I will have this on display for sure; if I can't find other things to use, then I will opt to read this one.
Aug 24, 2011 Candice rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children who are afraid of the dark
Shelves: picture-books
Since this was a book about a little bear who is afraid of the dark, I think it should probably be read only to children who are afraid of the dark. No use making a big deal out of darkness if the child doesn't. That being said, it is an adorable book about a little bear's fears and a father bear's love and patience. Little Bear can't go to sleep because of the darkness all around him, so Big Bear brings progressively bigger lanterns until Little Bear says it's the darkness outside that he's afr...more
Joanna Marple
This is a funny, sweet, poetic story about a little bear who has a hard time falling asleep. Little Bear is scared of the dark. Yep, we’ve most of us been there. Now as Big Bear keeps getting Little Bear some progressively bigger lanterns and settling back to his book, there are some adorable illustrations of Little Bear up to some antics on his bed making one wonder if he REALLY does want to go to sleep. Lanterns won’t suffice and it isn’t until Big Bear takes Little Bear out into the dark nigh...more

Big Bear is trying to put Little Bear to bed in their cave so he can finish reading a book. Little Bear can’t sleep because he is scared of how dark it is. Big Bear brings over a lantern, and when Little Bear is still scared, he continues to bring more and more lanterns over. Finally, Big Bear takes him outside, where it is the darkest of all, and gives Little Bear the best possible lantern, the moon. Little Bear finally falls asleep and Big Bear sits down to read, only to soon fall asleep himse...more
Dani Paiz
This was a cute story of a little bear that's afraid of the dark. It's a good bed time story and fairly repetitive. It's good for narrative skill and phonological awareness. I'd recommend it for ages 1-4.
Jun 24, 2012 Aoife added it
Little bear has been put to bed, but cannot (or will not!) go to sleep as he is scared of the dark. Big Bear tries to banish the dark with lanterns of varying size, but there is always a little bit more dark on the edges of the light. Finally, Big Bear takes Little Bear outside to see that the stars and moon are throwing off all the light Little Bear needs, but Little Bear doesn't hear this, as he is fast asleep.
This is a charming story which has a very calming feel to it which makes it perfect...more
It's wrong, I believe, to say that certain things are better than other things simply because we had them as children.

But for once I'll make an exception. As beautiful and wonderful as the kids' books on the shelves are these days, this one is a thousand times better.

Big Bear and Little Bear are drawn cosily the perfect parent-child duo, and the language of the writing tells the story in a relaxing way, without patronising the child audience. On top of that, it addresses that universal terror o...more
Paige Thomson
The story is about a little bear who is afraid of the dark and unable to sleep. The parental figure in the story tries everything to calm the little bear but is not successful until the little bear is cuddled up with the big bear and no longer afraid of the dark. I really enjoyed reading this story as a child. However, I felt that the plot was a little simple and that it was not a very well-rounded book. I did think that it was a really cute story to read though, especially if you have a student...more
This is a really cute book about big bear and baby bear. Baby bear can't sleep because there is too much darkness around him so Big Bear has to keep stopping his story to get him some more light. That doesn't help him enough and Baby bear still cannot sleep because there is too much darkness outside his window. What is Big bear going to do about all that darkness?

This book is appropriate for ages 3+

I loved this story when I was younger, and read it to a lot of kids I babysat because they seeme...more
Taylor Darst
Feb 15, 2014 Taylor Darst added it
Shelves: animals
Great book that teaches children to overcome things they are scared of.
This is a great bedtime story to share with your little ones. After Big Bear tucks Little Bear into bed he attempts to snuggle down in a large chair by the glowing fire and enjoy his exciting book. However, Little Bear cannot sleep because of the darkness in the room and Big Bear must get a lantern for him. Time and time again Big Bear returns to his book only to be called upon by Little Bear and his fears. I'm sure every parent has had to endure nights like these and will be able to relate to B...more
Lauren Ritcey
Genre: Internationl
Awards: Kate Greenaway Medal (1988), Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for 0 – 5 Years (1988)
Grade: K-2
Comments: I would read this book to the class, and after finishing I would have the students go back to their seats and open their daily journal. They would write about what helps them fall asleep and what they like to do before bed. I would also have them write about if they were ever afraid of the dark and what helped them get over it. This would be about a paragraph per student,...more
love love love, no word can describe my love
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Also writes under the pen name Catherine Sefton

Martin Waddell is the author of more than one hundred books for young readers.
More about Martin Waddell...
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