Tell Me the Day Backwards

Overview

In this delightful bedtime story, a young bear tells his mama all about his exciting day — in reverse — inspiring little listeners to do the same.

Just before going to bed, Timmy Bear and his mama play a game they call Tell Me the Day Backwards. Timmy tries to remember everything that happened to him that day in reverse, from watching the sunset on the hill to the picnic supper before that, from being chased by bees to finding honey in an old tree stump, all the way back to ...

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Overview

In this delightful bedtime story, a young bear tells his mama all about his exciting day — in reverse — inspiring little listeners to do the same.

Just before going to bed, Timmy Bear and his mama play a game they call Tell Me the Day Backwards. Timmy tries to remember everything that happened to him that day in reverse, from watching the sunset on the hill to the picnic supper before that, from being chased by bees to finding honey in an old tree stump, all the way back to waking up that morning from his winter-long hibernation. Albert Lamb and David McPhail spin a charming bedtime story sure to have parents and children sharing their own day — backwards — with each other.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A classic theme—a bedtime recounting of the day's happenings between parent and child—is creatively tweaked in this warmhearted book by the creators of Sam's Winter Hat. As Mama Bear tucks Timmy Bear into bed, he suggests they play a game of rehashing their day in reverse, beginning with brushing his teeth in the stream by moonlight. At his mother's gentle prompting ("What happened before that?"), he recalls watching the sunset and having a picnic supper with his parents, as well as such scary experiences as encountering a large fish underwater and being chased by bees. When Timmy can't remember what happened next—actually before—Mama helps, as they rewind the day to morning, when the family awoke from its winter hibernation. McPhail's spare, pastel-hued illustrations enhance the tale's timeless charm. Rendered in watercolor, pen, and sepia ink, the pictures clearly portray Timmy's curiosity and liveliness, as well as the affectionate bond between the bear and his parents. The plot's contrivance creates a game within a game—kids will have fun discovering the cause behind the effect in each of the day's events. Ages 3–6. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
Timmy Bear and his Mama play a game reviewing the day backwards. Before getting into bed, Timmy brushed his teeth. Before that he watched the sunset with Mama and Papa Bear. Before that Papa Bear brought a picnic supper. Papa rescued Timmy from deep water. Timmy saw a scary fish under water. Timmy jumped into the water with bees chasing him. Timmy ate some honey. He found a beehive. He and Mama Bear ate ants for breakfast. They saw purple butterflies. Mama woke Timmy up from sleeping through the winter. Now as Mama Bear puts Timmy to bed she says, "But tonight we'll sleep for just one night." Timmy wears pajamas to bed but the rest of the day has only fur. Mama wears a red scarf around her neck. The watercolor illustrations show lovable brown bears. They sleep in beds in a cave under a big tree. Children will enjoy the story and may want to try the game. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
School Library Journal
PreS-K—Timmy Bear climbs into bed and asks his mother to play the Tell Me the Day Backwards game. With her help, he recalls his day in reverse, from brushing his teeth in the river to waking from hibernation that morning. What could be a bland, sweet tale is enlivened by some serious drama. In retrospect, Timmy shares that he almost drowned after bees chased him off a high rock. Why would he jump into the river? The string of events becomes clear as he works back to the point where he found a hollow log with a dusty beehive inside. "And that's when you should have come and found me!" Mama Bear reminds her son. Family love permeates the story, reinforced by creamy paper, warm watercolors, and soft, round shapes. Little details add humor, like a boy doll on Timmy's bed. Sepia-tone endpapers depict the bears' world, allowing readers to retrace the day's events. While bedtime stories abound, not all are equal. Make room on your shelves for this one.—Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR
Kirkus Reviews

Gentle storytelling and a clever concept set this bedtime book apart from the pack. A little bear asks his mama to tell him what they did that day, only backwards. Together, the two of them recount Timmy's adventures and quiet moments, from taking an unexpected dip in a pool to eating some delicious honey to seeing a pack of beautiful purple butterflies. When they've gone through the whole day, back to the beginning, Mama reminds Timmy that before anything happened they were hibernating but that tonight they'll just sleep one night. Inspired by a game his own family played, Lamb's simple effect-and-cause backwards progression manages to always make perfect sense. "I ran and jumped off a high, high rock into the deep pool," Timmy recalls. "And before that?" prompts his mother: "I was chased by bees, and they were stinging me!" Kids may take a couple readings to fully grasp the author's intent, but few books illustrate the notion of "before" better than this. McPhail's always playful and evocative illustrations set against a beautiful countryside perfectly capture this original way of remembering a day's events. An exceptional idea and a truly fine follow through. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pamela Paul
An original concept distinguishes Tell Me the Day Backwards from other bedtime books, though in a way that also feels familiar and right.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763650551
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 3/22/2011
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 309,943
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Albert Lamb has worked as a cartoonist, a musician, and a writer. He is the author of Sam’s Winter Hat, also illustrated by David McPhail. Born in Boston, Albert Lamb now lives in the Cotswolds in southwest England.

David McPhail has been an artist ever since he was a child. He has written and illustrated more than fifty books for children, including Emma in Charge and Weezer Changes the World. He lives in New Hampshire.

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