Hello, friends! Our book today is Hibernate With Me, written by Benjamin Scheuer and illustrated by Jemima Williams, a sweet look at that special person who makes us feel safe and loved.
Following the lyrics of Scheuer’s song of the same name, two bears (neither their genders nor specific familial relationship is defined) spend their days together. Spoken and/or sung from the perspective of Big Bear, the older explains to their diminutive counterpart that life will often be full of uncertain times. Small Bear may have moments in which they feel worried, or timid, or scared, and they may not even know why. There will be times they may feel lost, or need to escape from the wider world. In these times, Big Bear assures, Small Bear can always count on them to guide or comfort or simply provide a place to take a deep breath or a good night’s sleep and start again.
Absolutely adorable. Telling a timeless tale of unconditional love in the author’s own very personal words (Scheuer originally wrote the song for Williams, his wife), the lyrics of the song have a pleasing earnestness that young bookworms will connect to and older ones will be moved by. The rhythm can be a little complex, however, something that would likely be rectified by listening to the song – it’s as-yet unreleased at the time of this review, so I can’t comment on that definitely, but sheet music is available in the backmatter). The deft decision to leave the bear characters’ specifics ambiguous is wise, as it gives the story a wide range of inclusivity; Small Bear can represent either a male or female child, and Big Bear can be a parent, grandparent, older sibling, or really any nurturing adult influence. The illustrations themselves are lovely, using storybook settings and charming characters to create a sense of comfort, yet occasionally adding in more atmospheric scenes; one such spread integrating Ursa Major and Minor is particularly lovey. The length is great, and JJ adored it. This is a perfect bedtime book for any Big Bear to share with their cub, and Baby Bookworm approved.
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)