The Bear in the Book

Illustrated by Georg Hallensleben Published October 2012

It’s time for bed, and a little boy chooses his favorite book for his mother to read to him. The bear in the book is preparing for his own deep slumber, hibernating through the winter while humans and other animals explore the snowy landscape around him. Just when the bear wakes up to greet the spring, the boy drifts off to sleep. Kate Banks’ soft and rhythmic text is brought to life by Georg Hallensleben’s strong, expressive paintings in this bedtime read that will carry young readers through the seasons.

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Booklist *** Review

The creators of The Great Blue House (2005) and Fox (2007) are as adept as any at presenting the wonders of the natural world to preschoolers. In this cozy and deceptively simple story, a toddler and his mother cuddle up at bedtime to read a favorite picture book about a black bear as it prepares for winter, hibernates in its den, and then emerges in springtime. Banks provides details about hibernation and winter’s many changes in both descriptive, child-friendly text and the resulting conversation between adult and child as they make their way through the book. Although the focus of this atmospheric story is seemingly on the big black bear, the book is just as much a celebration of the shared-reading experience, from sitting close and discussing the story to exploring the illustrations to noting the book’s sensory features. Hallensleben’s rich, impressionistic artwork moves seamlessly between warm domestic scenes of the pair reading and vibrant natural landscapes with plenty of seasonal detail. With its quiet, gentle tone, this is perfect for one-on-one bedtime reading as well as for introducing hibernation, sleep cycles, and seasonal change, but the engaging, double-spread pictures will please crowds, too. Preschool-Kindergarten. —Kristen McKulski

The Wall Street Journal

Coziness pervades every inch of ‘The Bear in the Book,’ a bedtime story by Kate Banks filled with Georg Hallensleben’s sumptuously soft paintings. Words and images work together to create a marvelous Russian-doll effect: The person reading this book to a child is also, through the mother in the book, reading a story about a bear to a boy in the book—as well as telling the story of the hibernating bear. All three tales come to an end virtually simultaneously; the effect is enchanting.

The New York Times

In ‘The Bear in the Book,’ readers are in the hands of two masters—Banks with her well-chosen words and Hallensleben with his lush, color-saturated paintings.

School Library Journal *** Starred Review

As with previous bedtime books by these fine collaborators, short simple sentences create a tranquil, soothing air, while the lush textured oil paintings fill the pages with dense color. But the most valuable thing about this gem might be that it demonstrates a best practice, to the benefit of children and parents alike.

Publishers Weekly *** Starred Review

This is, quite literally, what reading with a child is all about.


A tribute to the power of books to connect and the love that parents everywhere show when they share books with children at the end of the day, this picture book is simply spectacular.