Gift Guide

Don't Spill the Beans!

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Bear's got a secret.

What could it be?

Could it have something to do with you?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
From the cover showing a bear cub in red overalls whispering into the ear of friendly hippo dressed in green to the last page; it is easy to see that this book is an extended word play. It begins with variations on the expression, "Don't Spill the Beans." Half way through—when the little bear cannot "bear it," he begins to share his exciting message. Young children may not get all the puns, such as the admonition to "Alert Raccoon" who is shown as a very wide-eyed creature reading a message. But they will certainly understand all the excitement when the final pages "spell out" the message—"Happy birthday to you!" Schoenherr's brightly colored creatures are done without background so the large-type phrases of the spare text really pop. This playful book is certain to please preschoolers. However, it might well become a great vocabulary lesson for early primary as well. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
Publishers Weekly
The cast from last year's Read It, Don't Eat It! is back, albeit with a much slighter premise in tow. Bear has a secret and can't keep it quiet (“Don't spill the beans!/ Don't let it slip!/ Don't give it away!/ Just button your lip!”). Given that Schoenherr did such a great job putting a fun spin on sensible-but-boring rules for handling books in his previous picture book, readers (and grownups) may be surprised by the direction this story takes. The narrator quickly changes gears and gives Bear permission to tell all to everyone he knows: “Blurt it to Turtle./ Also Baboon./ Blab it to Rabbit./ Alert Raccoon.” This chain of confidences ends on the final spread, where the secret is revealed: a “Happy Birthday” wish for the reader. Once again, Schoenherr's vintage-styled animal portraits are wholly endearing; he's particularly good at giving very big animals (the hippo, elephant, and kangaroo) the earnest mannerisms of very small children. But the slender plot and highly specific punch line offer little to anyone who isn't being feted in the near future. Up to age 4. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
PreS—Bear has a secret he keeps from readers, but he goes around blabbing it, telling it, and blurting it to all of his animal friends. His secret has something to do with the set of cards and gift-wrapped box he's hiding behind his back. This would be a fun book to share with preschoolers on their birthday because the cub is the center of attention and, at the end of the story, the cards are revealed to spell out "Happy Birthday" and the box to be holding a cake. The cards the animals hold up give youngsters the opportunity to learn letters and colors, and the candles on the cake can be used for counting practice. The story is told in short rhyming sentences of large, colorful, hand-lettered text. The ink and acrylic paint illustrations depict cheerfully clothed animals with expressive faces. Both text and artwork are set against generous white space. Best read one-on-one, this title is a good first purchase for libraries needing picture books on birthdays.—Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada
Kirkus Reviews
"What's THAT, Bear? / Don't spill the beans! / Don't let it slip! / Don't give it away! / Just button your lip!" Bear has a brightly colored box, but he is having a difficult time keeping its contents a secret. So he tells Elephant and Toucan . . . and one by one, one animal leads to another. He tips off Hippo and blabs to Rabbit. Before long everyone knows. Everyone but the readers, that is. "Well, Bear, / THAT was fun, / but didn't you / forget someone?" When he and his pals spell it out, it's a special wish about a very special day. Schoenherr's vibrantly dressed, wide-eyed animals are expressive, and each is overjoyed to be in on the secret. The ink-and-acrylic illustrations hearken back to the Golden Books of days long gone, and the big, friendly, hand-lettered text makes this ideal for doing double duty as a beginning reader for those just learning to sound out their letters and put together words. Great for storytimes on secrets or as a special birthday gift. (Picture book. 1-4)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061724572
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/23/2010
  • Pages: 30
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ian Schoenherr grew up near Locktown, New Jersey. He has written and illustrated three books—Read It, Don't Eat It!; Cat & Mouse; and Pip & Squeak—and illustrated numerous books by other authors, including Little Raccoon's Big Question, by Miriam Schlein. The artist lives in Woodside, New York.

Ian Schoenherr grew up near Locktown, New Jersey. He has written and illustrated three books—Read It, Don't Eat It!; Cat & Mouse; and Pip & Squeak—and illustrated numerous books by other authors, including Little Raccoon's Big Question, by Miriam Schlein. The artist lives in Woodside, New York.

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