The Sniffles for Bear: A Bear and Mouse Children’s Book by Bonny Becker; illustrated by Karly MacDonald Denton (Candlewick Press; $16.99; 32 pages)
“Bear was sick, very, very sick… Bear was sure no one had ever been as sick as he.”
This terrific book in the Bear and Mouse children’s book series is perfect for teaching a sensitive child that a transitory illness can have a bark that’s worse than its bite. In this finely illustrated tale, Bear (and he’s a big one!) is down with a winter flu and he’s sure that he’s dying – so sure that he decides to draw up a will to give away his worldly possessions. Mouse (the far smaller of the two friendly animals) helps Bear to keep his grip on this mortal coil by nursing him through his illness with the benefit of some hand-holding and Nettle soup. A congested Bear says of the soup, “Dat was just the thing.”
Eventually, Bear comes to feel better and – wouldn’t you know it? – Mouse winds up catching the flu and all he wants to do is rest. So the tables are turned, and its Bear’s turn to take care of Mouse; some Nettle soup and Mouse goes happily, snuggly to sleep.
The colors in this book are subtly relaxing, and the story is told with such humor and irony that your child will likely plead with you to read it before catching 40 winks. Highly recommended.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. The Sniffles for Bear is recommended for children ages 3 and up. The first book in the series, A Visitor for Bear, was a New York Times Bestseller and an E. B. White Read Aloud Award Winner.
Frankie Works the Night Shift by Lisa Westberg Peters (Greenwillow Books, 32 pages, $16.99)
People sometimes wonder what it is we cats do all night long. Well, this neat-o book by Lisa Westberg Peters (illustrated by Jennifer Taylor) shows that we keep the household going, doing lots of essential stuff while the lazy humans are asleep. We chase mice, clean counters, empty trash cans, water the yard and call meetings of the Neighborhood Watch Patrol.
Yes, we work while you sleep and if not for cats like Frankie, who knows what a mess you’d wake up to in the morning! This is just a great 32-page book that introduces the young kids to us felines and helps them to learn how to count. OK, so the adults in the household may not appreciate the so-called “ruckus” they claim we make when it’s dark but – as my favorite band the Eagles sing – get over it!
The illustrations are beautiful and do justice to us handsome cats and even the stupid dogs. The end of the story finds Frankie sleeping after taking care of business all night. Let sleeping cats lie is what I say. Oh, and give them plenty of Purina Party Mix Treats. You’d better add this one to the family library.
This review was written by Munchy Arellano, the brown tabby cat. A review copy was received from the publisher. Munchy has received no compensation for his endorsement of Purina Party Mix Cat Treats.
Frankie Works the Night Shift is recommended for children between the ages of 3 and 8.
Wide Awake: A Memoir of Insomnia by Patricia Morrisroe (Spiegel & Grau, $25.00, 266 pages)
Insomnia, a very serious subject for anyone afflicted by it, is given star treatment by veteran writer Patricia Morrisroe as she describes her quest for enough good-quality sleep. The reader is brought up to date with a bit of family history, including her mom’s sleep problems, the terrors of Catholic school, and the remarkable fact that her grandfather – though he suffered from tinnitus – escaped insomnia. Morrisroe delivers her tale in an enjoyable, chatty tone that she no doubt cultivated when writing for Vanity Fair and Vogue. In this, her book is reminiscent of Lee Eisenberg’s Shoptimism.
Morrisroe illustrates her experiences related to sleep, or the lack thereof, with descriptions of the professional services of a psychologist, a psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist – who knew there was such a profession? She even went so far as to gladly embrace the notion of jet lag with the hope it would bring relief at the journey’s end.
Because sleep deprivation has taken on the image of an American affliction, drug manufacturers have geared up production of sleep potions with names like Lunesta and Rozerem. This book includes a survey of this category of drugs, how they are perceived and how they worked, or did not, for the author.
This review was written by Ruta Arellano. Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.