That Bear Can't Babysit by Ruth Quayle and Alison Friend
That Bear Can't Babysit by Ruth Quayle, illustrated by Alison Friend
Review Copy from Nosy Crow
Story: Invited to a party, Mr. Burrow suggests they find a sitter for the seven little Burrows - Anna, Adelaide, Betsy, Bill, Casper, Clive, and Dotty. Bear answers the call and promptly gets snookered by the little Burrows, who insist that they are allowed to read The Bunny Beast and end up hiding under a blanket with the bunnies insisting, "That bear can't babysit." Next, they assure Bear that they always cook dinner, serving up, "178 pieces of candy, seven helpings of ice cream, thirty-six cookies, and a big jar of chocolate spread." Stomach aches and the titular refrain follow. After a disastrous romp in the fresh air involving the hose, Bear gets smart. An imaginary adventure ("they'd been exploring for nearly twenty-seven minutes") in a cardboard box leads to a visit to the garden where a healthy meal is eaten, a cozy bedtime story and seven sleeping bunnies when Mrs. and Mr. Burrow arrive home.
Pictures: Alison Friend's illustrations are ABSOLUTELY CHARMING! Her style evokes the fuzzy softness of oil pastels with the occasional dark, thick line for definition. To this, she adds the occasional child-like scribble lines that give dimension to the illustrations. The big brown bear on every page and his questioning, occasionally befuddled, sometimes sweet expressions anchors every page and you just want to reach out and hug him. I can't get enough of Friend's illustrations and have included an especially cool project she recently worked on below . . .
Why Read? Why Buy?: The sneaky ways of the seven little Burrows is classic kid trickery and also something you don't see too often in kid's books, not done this well, anyway. Little listeners will love watching what they get up to and adults will appreciate how Bear saves the day. Definitely read this book - there aren't too many like it. Buy it because kids will want to hear it over and over.
Chucks decorated by Alison Friend!