Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?

Common Sense Media says

As reassuring as a goodnight hug.





What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

The vast dark lurking outside the cave is frightening to Little Bear (and may be to little listeners, too), although the situation is resolved in the security of Big Bear's arms.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the familiar story and charming illustrations have children turning pages and chanting along with the dialogue.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

Why is bedtime so frightening? \"I don't like the dark!\" Little Bear tells Big Bear, who goes to great extents to comfort his charge. Finally, Big Bear makes Little Bear face the dark head on, and this duo finds that there's nothing to fear--as long as they have each other.

Is it any good?


As reassuring as a goodnight hug, this sweet tale of a little one's fear of the dark will ring familiar to young listeners and to their parents. Big Bear epitomizes parental devotion, as he goes to any extent to comfort his little charge. This is a good bedtime book, lulling in its repetition, and the children love saying Little Bear's repeated "I'm afraid!" each time the reader asks the title question.

The pencil and watercolor illustrations, surrounded by an arch-shaped border, echo the shape of the bears' cave. They are soft in tone and capture the bears' expressions. "That's just what I do!" one 4-year-old girl said as she studied the illustrations of Little Bear attempting to fall asleep. When the story was over, she turned to her mother and asked, "Will you read this to me before bed?"

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about bedtime fears. Kids: Are you afraid of the dark? What do you find comforting at night?

Book details

Author:Martin Waddell
Illustrator:Barbara Firth
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Candlewick Press
Publication date:January 1, 1988
Number of pages:28
Publisher's recommended age(s):2 - 4

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Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written byarudek805 February 27, 2009

Reassuring bedtime story

This can be a very reassuring story for kids who might be scared of the dark. As the parent reading the book to the kids, it can be a little redundant each time the 2 bears go through the questions and answers.
Parent of a 1 year old Written byumadnan April 18, 2009
Parent of a 8 year old Written bylibrarian4little1s April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


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