Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Nap-haters will agree with this book's stubborn hero, who argues, "Sleeping is such a waste of time! It takes up the whole winter." Although Old Bear yawns when the first snowflakes fall and his neighbors disappear into their dens, he firmly resists hibernation ("He filled his days by playing songs on his banjo....He baked pies and made spicy jam tarts"). One day, he hears someone at his doorÄanother insomniac, Brown Bear. These kindred spirits while away the season together, by playing Scrabble and eating. They spend the next summer on a vacation, catching up on their lost rest in scenic locations. While this tale lacks the depth of imagination of Bishop's previous Little Rabbit and the Sea, it conveys a cozy mood with autumnal watercolor hues, overlaid with dense ink crosshatching. A wood-burning-stove warmth pervades his images of Old Bear's tree-trunk abode, which is decorated with rustic antiques and cushy armchairs. The narrative outwardly goes against the grain of sleepy-time picture books, for the happy characters see no error in their un-bearlike ways. On the other hand, the book lulls readers into relaxation with its closing image of the rebels on the beach, sacked out in deck chairs. Bishop and the bears find the best of both worlds. Ages 3-6. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 1-Bishop's lively story puts a new spin on hibernation. Old Bear has decided that "Sleeping is such a waste of time! It takes up the whole winter." So he does all he can to stay awake, from playing the banjo to baking pies. This thoroughly modern bear even watches videos. Finally, he finds he's not tired at all, but restless. Enter his neighbor, Brown Bear, who is having trouble sleeping and comes over for company. The two revel in their new companionship, playing Scrabble and eating macaroni and cheese for the rest of the winter. When summer comes, they go on a trip-and sleep all the way through it. The next fall, feeling refreshed, they decide once again to stay awake throughout the winter. Children will readily agree with the bears' idea that sleeping is a waste of time when there are so many other things to do, and the joke of sleeping through vacation will not be lost on them. Bishop's cartoon-style watercolors with pen and ink convey the jovial characters, from their delight in winter camaraderie to their unconscious horseback trek across the plains. Librarians will welcome this silly spin on a popular topic, and youngsters will take to it like bears to honey.-Kathleen M. Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, Eldersburg, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book Review
When Old Bear and Brown Bear decide sleeping is a waste of time, they stay awake all winter long and plan an exciting summer trip. Nice weather finally comes, but the bears are exhausted and end up slumbering through their whole vacation. The tongue-in-cheek story of defying conventional mores is accompanied by cheerful line and watercolor illustrations. From HORN BOOK Fall 2000, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
The probable outcome of, say, robbing Peter to pay Paul gets a fresh and funny interpretation in Bishop's (Little Rabbit and the Sea, not reviewed, etc.) tale of Old Bear's determination not to waste time hibernating all winter. Awake for the season, Old Bear and his neighbor Brown Bear amuse themselves with Scrabble games, meals of macaroni and cheese, and summer- vacation planning. Come summer, the bears take a delightful trip, the only drawback being that they sleep through the adventure, returning home sufficiently rested to spend the next winter much as they'd spent the last. The author's watercolor and pen-and- ink illustrations let readers see the fun the traveling bears are missing, so they may agree with the ironic title. Stay awake for this one. (Picture book. 4-6)