To a tiny bear, it seems like the world is made for the "great big bears"-like his parents-who survey their domain from "great big chairs." The cub's older brother has it pretty good, too. No high chairs "with straps so/ tiny bears don't fall" for those of his brother's ilk: "middling bears" get to sit in "middling chairs," big enough to serve as pretend pirate ships (and if those middling bears take a tumble from the mast, they get right up again and "never cry"). But while tiny bears may get bossed around a lot and have yet to prepare for that rough-and-tumble life, they do have one advantage: they can "cuddle up/ to take a nap/ upon the chair/ that's Papa's lap." Yolen's (Soft House, reviewed below) empathetic rhyming text infuses the classic preschooler's complaint with touching eloquence; as always, she connects with young readers without pandering to them. Sweet (Carmine: A Little More Red) makes an ideal visual partner. Her mixed-media illustrations exude a sunny open-heartedness; the slightly naif style opts for emotional authenticity over realism, but Sweet also includes plenty of domestic details to create a bear household that is both a loving one and also a great setting for a play date. Above all, the pictures assure youngsters that no matter how they may rail against the injustices of being small, there are still many benefits. Ages 2-5. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A wee bruin extols, in sly Goldilocks fashion, the virtues of the various sized chairs in his house. With longing, the little bear describes the perks that go along with being able to fit into the larger seats, from big bears who get to stay up late-without naps-to medium-sized bears who can bound around on their "middling" proportioned furniture with great ease. While Yolen's jaunty tale taps into the universal desire of all tots to grow up quickly, she concludes on a winsome note, gently encouraging little ones to savor being just their size. Snug within the safe harbor of Papa's lap at the end of the day, little bear lays claim to the best chair in the house. Yolen's verses swing along in an easy, playful rhythm that is perfectly suited for read-aloud sessions with small or large groups. Sweet's mixed-media-and-watercolor collages continue the whimsical theme of the tale. Her renderings of the bear family home, cluttered with toys and homemade drawings taped to the walls, will be readily recognizable to young readers. A cozy and comforting send-off to slumber. (Picture book. 3-6)