Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?
by Martin Waddell
(illustrated by Barbara Firth)
Published by Walker Books
‘Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?’ is a charming story about two Bears, Big Bear and Little Bear. It is Little Bear’s bedtime and Big Bear settles down to read his book. However, Big Bear’s reading is interrupted numerous times by, the very endearing, Little Bear, who is finding it difficult to settle as he doesn’t like the dark. Big Bear, a gentle, patient character, returns to Little Bear and tries everything he can think of to help him settle, but even bringing Little Bear ‘The Biggest Lantern Of Them All’ is not enough to comfort him because Little Bear can still see the dark looming beyond the mouth of their cozy Bear Cave, a ‘dark’ too big to be lit by any lantern!…and so Big Bear and Little Bear venture out of their cave and into the dark night where they find the moon and stars...
…and Little Bear happily falls asleep in Big Bears’ arms. The story ends with the Bears back in their cozy Bear Cave, Big Bear finishing his book (at last!) and Little Bear sleeping soundly in his arms.
Recently, Bundle Number One has been finding it difficult to settle at bedtime due to the fact that, just like ‘Little Bear’, he doesn’t like the dark. There was much excitement when the book arrived, and Bundle Number One wanted to hear the story straight away, so we sat down together on our story blanket…the sharing of this story has since become a daily occurrence!
I love the story, it is beautifully written, gentle and features the use of reassuring repetition which is ideal for bedtime. The illustrations are wonderful, complimenting the narrative perfectly and really making you feel like you are right there in the cozy Bear Cave.
I especially like the fact that Big Bear is such a patient, comforting figure, returning to Little Bear each time he is needed and doing all he can to comfort Little Bear. The ending is particularly lovely, with Little Bear sleeping soundly in Big Bear’s arms 🙂
Bundle Number One really identifies with Little Bear and is visibly delighted to find that he is not the only one who isn’t a fan of the dark! These are his thoughts;
‘Little Bear is funny, he wriggles in his bed and he cant sleep, I do that!’
‘it is funny because of Little Bear’
‘My favourite bit is when he (Little Bear) doesn’t like the dark!’
‘At the end, they fall asleep, that’s nice because they have a cuddle’
…he has since brought this book down from the shelf every day and it is fast becoming part of our bedtime rhythm, with him asking for a ‘lantern’ at bedtime (his nightlight on a red setting!)
We have also sought out the rest of the ‘Little Bear’ series at our local Library and added them to his birthday list!
Disclaimer: This book was brought to my attention while reviewing ‘The Gentle Sleep Book’ (Sarah Ockwell-Smith) as one of the recommended ‘Bedtime books to share with your child’. Bundle Number one is currently having trouble settling at bedtime and I liked the sound of this book, so I contacted the lovely people at Walker Books, who very kindly sent us a review copy. All opinions are our own.