In his first solo outing, Mack (illustrator of the Bunnicula series) sends an eager-looking polar bear on a series of dreamtime adventures: "Swim through a waterfall./ Splash in a stream./ Paddle past rainbows/ that glisten and gleam." Big, rounded shapes and pastel-tinted spreads encourage calm, while rhythmic verses describe action. The polar bear looks like a real cub; the ending reveals him (her) as a stuffed animal snuggled in the arms of the girl who, presumably, is the narrator. She's right behind the polar bear in every spread, watching over him; in Mack's cheerful, fuzzy acrylic paintings, they travel across the ocean, through a rain forest, a desert, and up into the sky before ending safely in bed. "Then look right beside you,/ and that's where I'll be," she promises the bear. Giving the child character the speaking rather than the listening part neatly reverses lullaby convention. Ages 2-6. (Nov.)
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School Library Journal
Following the rhythm and rhyme of "Hush Little Baby," a young girl sings a lullaby to her toy bear: "Hush little polar bear./Sleep in the snow,/and dream of the places/where sleeping bears go." As the two of them drift off to sleep, they dream of sailing the high seas, chasing butterflies, bouncing through cow pastures, creeping through a cave, swinging from a vine, and so on until, soaring through the sky, they return home to cuddle in bed. The richly textured spreads are bright and imaginative, perfectly complementing the simple, lyrical text. Begging to be sung, this will be a natural choice for bedtime or teddy-bear-themed storyhours.-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL