Friday, October 26, 2018

Review - Good Night, Little Bear

Good Night, Little Bear
by Patsy Scarry
illustrated by Richard Scarry
Date: 1961
Publisher: Golden Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 24
Format: e-book
Source: library

First a story, and then a kiss from Mother Bear, and Father Bear carries Little Bear to bed. And that's when the fun begins. Father Bear gets to Little Bear's room, but Little Bear is missing! Little readers will see him hiding in the MOST obvious place but Father Bear cannot seem to find him. Is he under the stove? Is he in the garden? Is he in the woodbox? Only when Father Bear walks past the mirror does the silliness end, and in a very tasty way. With this, one of the most charming bedtime tales ever, Richard Scarry has once again proven his timeless appeal.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Here's another oldie. It definitely shows its age, although it still has its charm. I found the first illustration pretty amusing, with Father Bear smoking his pipe and watching TV, which just happens to have Smokey Bear on it. (Can you imagine how many forest fires there would be if bears could smoke?)

Reading this book from a modern perspective, though, is a little uncomfortable. It's kind of sexist, and it doesn't exactly portray good parenting (unless giving your child a giant slice of chocolate cake when you're putting them to bed is some new tactic that I'm not aware of).

Plus, given the inconsistencies and odd little details in the illustrations, there are plenty of questions that children may ask while (or after) reading this book:

"Mommy, can I hide under the kitchen stove?"

"Daddy, why does a bear need fur mittens?"

"Mommy, why do the bears keep a pot of sticky honey in the living room? Why isn't it in the kitchen?"

"Daddy, why don't the little bunnies have to go to bed, too? Why do they get to stay up and eat lettuce from the garden?"

"Mommy, how did Mama Bear's sewing machine end up in a different room? Did she carry it?"

"Daddy, why can't I have chocolate cake for a bedtime snack?"

"Mommy, is Father Bear actually Mike Pence? Why doesn't he use Mother Bear's actual name?"

Quotable moment:

"Who said Ouch?" asks Father Bear.
"Mother, did you say Ouch?"

"Not I," smiles Mother Bear.

Oh she is a tease.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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