With the overwhelming semester and some interesting developments in my personal life, I can’t keep up with blogging at the moment. I’ll still be around and reading, and can be reached anytime on Goodreads. :)

tbbcounttheirblessings-berenstainTitle: The Berenstain Bears Count Their Blessings (The Berenstain Bears)
Author: Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: October 24, 1995
Number of Pages: 32
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift

Mama Bear is tired of hearing how many Bearbie dolls Lizzy Bruin has and how many Game Bear video games Cousin Freddy just got. During a thunderstorm, Mama gets her cubs to realize that love and a good home are much more valuable than material possessions.

ReviewMama bear is exasperated because her cubs complain about the things that their friends and family have that they don’t. A lightning storm hits while Mama and Papa explain the blessings that the children have, including a roof over their head and parents that love them. As the storm rages on the story veers a little off track to a science lesson about thunder and lightning, learning how to count the seconds between strikes. After the storm the children learn how to “count their blessings” and go back to playing with their old toys. The story ends with the parents discussing Christmas and what ideas they had for gifts, which of course were the things the cubs complained about.

While I like the underlying message about appreciating the things that you have, it felt like the moral was presented a little too harshly. While the complaints are undoubtedly aggravating and I can sympathize, Mama’s mean attitude kind of turned me off to the whole thing. The addition of the thunder and lightning lesson during the storm I also felt was really distracting and took away from the story.

The book was not bad per say, but it also just wasn’t that great. I would have liked for the situation to be handled in a more positive light, without the children cowering in fear from the storm while being told what they should appreciate. It came off a little too much like a stern lecture.

RatingStrengths: Good lesson about appreciating the things that you have
Weaknesses: Story is not focused

justgotobed-mayerTitle: Just Go To Bed (Little Critter)
Author: Mercer Mayer
Publisher: Turtleback, Random House
Publication Date: June 1, 1983
Number of Pages: 24
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift

One of the classic Little Critter picture book titles by Mercer Mayer, this simple story shows our preschool hero resisting his father’s efforts to get him ready for bed. By the end of the book Little Critter’s understanding father has finally succeeded in moving his energetic, imaginative son through bathtime and pyjamatime into sleeptime.

ReviewLittle Critter does everything he can to put off going to bed by pretending to be different things and playing. His playtime is always cut short by dad, who urges Little Critter to do his bed time duties like taking a shower and putting on his pajamas. In the end Little Critter is tuckered out and falls asleep after begrudgingly going to bed.

The way that Little Critter acts, while somewhat true to how my daughter used to act at bed time, is definitely not behavior I would encourage. I’d rather read a book that encourages her to sleep instead of showing a character who avoids it and gets away with it. Thank goodness my daughter has calmed down and generally goes straight to sleep when I tuck her in. The book overall is very cute, though I really can’t say that it is anything special, especially for a bed time story.

RatingStrengths: Art is charming
Weaknesses: Nothing special, little critter behaves pretty badly