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

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  5,517 Ratings  ·  156 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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Mar 13, 2015 Jamie rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
3 1/2 stars. Cute book where Big Bear tries to get Little Bear to sleep but Little Bear is scared of the dark so big Bear must find a solution. The art was nice but I felt the ending could have been executed better. Still, a sound read for bedtime.

Honestly I think I enjoyed this more than the kids with how Big Bear wants to get back to his book but he patiently puts Little Bear to bed each time. Something any parent can relate to.
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
Nov 14, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it
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
Dec 01, 2012 Fariha rated it it was amazing
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
Keshia Dahm
Feb 09, 2017 Keshia Dahm rated it it was amazing
Shelves: listofbetterment
Again a great book to explore different ideas and of course children's fears of the dark. Great illustrations as well. I remember very well myself that I could never sleep when I was a child, not because of the dark but I just could not fall asleep. My parents always came up with new ideas to help me fall asleep. It reminds me of big bear, being persistent, creative and patient with little bear are important attributes for parents. So maybe this picturebook does not just help children overcome t ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Oct 27, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
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!
Alice Nachir
Apr 24, 2013 Alice Nachir rated it it was amazing
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
Niamh Delahunty
Sep 12, 2011 Niamh Delahunty rated it liked it
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
Oct 03, 2014 Gurpreet rated it really liked it
This is lovely book which enables children to get sucked into the story. It's about the a little bear who is afraid of the dark, and the big bear gets a lantern to light up his room so he can go to sleep. Each time that the little cannot sleep; big bear brings a bigger lantern each time. Until it gets to a point where the little bears bedroom is full of light yet he is still afraid of the darkness from the outside entrance of their cave (home). Eventually big bear takes little bear outside in th ...more
Nov 11, 2012 Ruth rated it really liked it
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
Bridie Jones
Feb 05, 2016 Bridie Jones rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this book and I think that for a child who is scared of the dark, it would be a good read. I liked the use of the bears and generally bears are associated with being big and scary, and whilst there is a big bear, the shaping of him makes him look so much softer. They have made him more rounded rather than sharp with soft colours throughout the 'cave' house. In my own opinion, I feel the book was dragging out more towards the end, but then the children could pick the idea behind ...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.
Sep 24, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it did not like it
Shelves: childrens
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.
Aug 27, 2008 booklady rated it really liked it
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?!
Jul 03, 2009 Dolly rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 08, 2011 ABC rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: younger-kids
Little Bear is scared of the dark, and Big Bear helps him go to sleep. This is nice, but it feels like tons of other Going to Sleep books we have read. Even ds said that we had read it before, even though we hadn't.
John Shelley
Jun 08, 2009 John Shelley rated it it was amazing
The best of the Bear series IMHO, text and illustrations perfectly match.
Dec 11, 2016 Cheryl rated it it was ok
Same old sappy, but I do like that this is a father and child.
Amazing story! Being an insomniac child, I reckon this little book saved my life, and my mother's!
Matilda Moir
Mar 15, 2017 Matilda Moir rated it really liked it
Can’t you sleep little bear? By Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth is a picture book in which the illustrations work together with the text to successfully tell a story.
The story follows the two bears, big bear and little bear. Little bear cannot sleep because of his fear of the dark, big bear keeps on trying to help him but little bear’s fear of ‘the dark all around us’ keeps him awake.

With regards to framing and perspective the illustrator uses a combination of full bleeds and frames. The frame
Thomas Edmund
Dec 30, 2016 Thomas Edmund rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure if I love this book more from relating to big bear, or for the Game of Thrones level disturbing dialogue from little bear...

"The darkness all around us."

I mean cripes, the story is about how no matter what light big bear brings there is still darkness everywhere scaring little bear. Terrifying 10/10
Feb 25, 2017 Anna rated it really liked it
4 Stars for being adorable, minus one star for being a somewhat tedious read-aloud at times because most of the book is the same 6 lines repeated (it's a Waddell signature to repeat certain lines/phrases, and this is taken to an extreme here). But the story is sweet, and I am a sucker for any book about bears.
Lesley Dahlseng
Jan 12, 2015 Lesley Dahlseng rated it it was amazing
No doubt every parent knows the feeling. You finally get cozy in your favorite chair with a great book in hand, only to be interrupted by a sleepless little one. This is exactly what happens to Big Bear, though he "bears" this trial with greater patience than I can often claim. "Can't you sleep, Little Bear?" he asks. It turns out that Little Bear is afraid of the dark, and no matter how many lanterns Big Bear uses to dispel the dark of the cave, there is still more darkness to be found outside. ...more
Feb 15, 2017 Suzy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
My niece loves dogs and bears and it is surprising how many books she can find with these beloved animals. Soon we will have read them all. This book has interesting illustrations and repetitive phrasing making it a good read for many ages.
Julia Wickenden
Jan 07, 2014 Julia Wickenden rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 15, 2013 Alexander rated it it was amazing
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
Sydney Freel
Dec 06, 2014 Sydney Freel rated it it was ok
Shelves: 307-books
This story about the obstacles Little Bear and Big Bear face when Little Bear can’t sleep because of his fear of the dark. Big Bear is reading by the fire when Little Bear calls out that he is afraid and can’t sleep. Big Bear brings Little Bear lanterns in several sizes, attempting to banish the dark from the corners of their cave, but Little Bear wants more. In the end, Little Bear finally falls asleep once he is taken outside and cuddled underneath the mood and stars. Good use of Dialogue, but ...more
Nov 24, 2013 Samantha rated it it was amazing
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
Ambreen Bilgrami
May 12, 2012 Ambreen Bilgrami rated it it was amazing
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
Kathryn Boyle
Aug 18, 2014 Kathryn Boyle rated it it was amazing
This picture book tells the story of two bears, Big Bear and Little Bear who live in a dark cave. Little Bear cannot get to sleep because he is afraid of the dark. Big Bear is trying to read a book but Little Bear keeps disturbing him.

Big Bear keeps bringing Little Bear more and more lanterns to light up the room and help him to sleep but nothing works. Big Bear then decides to take Little Bear outside to the darkness and show him that the dark is nothing to be afraid of. He shows him that the m
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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.

Awards: Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing (2004).
More about Martin Waddell...

Other Books in the Series

Little Bear (5 books)
  • Let's Go Home, Little Bear
  • You And Me, Little Bear
  • Good Job, Little Bear
  • Sleep Tight, Little Bear

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