Of what do little bears dream? Bright snowflakes perhaps... Or dark starry nights. Hot chocolate... Cold pizza. Straight horizons... And curly moustaches.
This gentle and imaginative tale takes readers on a journey of wintry opposites, including the expected and the unexpected. The sky's the limit when a little polar bear dreams, safely curled up with her mama. Perfect for bedtime or anytime, this snuggly read-aloud will both amuse and calm its young audience.
I always dislike when a book I want to like does not "make it" for me. I know that there was a lot of work and love put into this book, and it will be perfect for someone, I am just not that someone. This would be perfect in a medium sized board book format.
Beautiful illustrations and spare text make this a lovely bedtime book for any toddler. Little polar bear dreams of "big love...and small friends" and "straight horizons...and curly mustaches." These unexpected opposites make for a fun read aloud.
The kindergarteners liked it lots. I love the opening question, "Of what do little bears dream?" because of how it opens us up for writing. The pictures are exquisitely bold. (And the kids love the moustache page, but I don't get it. I mean, I get it. I just don't get it.) It's a wonderful echo of Elizabeth Cody Kimmel's What Do You Dream? (and my unpublished homage to hers, I Asked My Hand Its Dream -- send for your own copy today!).
After reading this, in our writing time, Emery, age 6, wrote:
Mom, mom, of what do you dream? I dream about the sun being warm in Florida.
The sun dreams about the moon because the moon loves the sun because the sun is light and the moon is dark.
This whimsical picture book invites readers to imagine what polar bears might dream about. Some of the dreams are logical (bright snowflakes, dark skies), while others are pure silly fun (mustaches and party hats). The book ends with the parent and child polar bears curling up to sleep, making this a perfect bedtime story.
Paul Schmid's illustrations are a real standout here. Understated yet beautiful, they use simple shapes and plain backgrounds to define the polar bears and the arctic landscape around them. The final two spreads, showing the polar bears curling up in a circle that echoes the shape of the moon, are especially effective. The pages are filled with blues, grays, and whites that perfectly evoke the chilly arctic scenery.
The text is rhythmic, again making it a natural choice for bedtime reading. It is also simple enough to use for toddler storytime, with only a few sparse words per page. Another thing I appreciate is that the text introduces opposite pairs (hot chocolate/cold pizza, big love/small friends), although they're not present on every page.
That said, there is still something about this book that just doesn't do it for me, although I'm having a hard time pinning down exactly what. I think a lot of it has to do with how all over the place some of the flights of fancy are. The mustaches and party hats for instance feel like they came out of nowhere and don't really tie in with the rest of the cold/winter/arctic imagery. Young readers will definitely appreciate the humor, though, and there's still plenty to enjoy in this beautiful picture book. :)
Little Bear Dreams by Paul Schmid. PICTURE BOOK. Phaidon, 2018. $18. 9780714877242
BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K, EL (K-3) - ADVISABLE
AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH
This book ponders the questions of what bears could possibly be dreaming about. Big snowflakes possibly, but also maybe hot chocolate? Or cold pizza? Straight horizons and curly mustaches? All this is accompanied by simplistic illustrations of a polar bear and her cub.
This book is so delightful because it has such a soothing tone, but with an edge of silly. We all loved the illustrations - especially the final one in which the bear and her cub are curled up to mirror the full moon above.