Review by Booklist Review
Phelan's nearly wordless picture book introduces a family of bears in their forested home. Papa, noticing leaves falling from the trees, proclaims to his cubs, "Sweaters on!" He knits while they don their gear, but soon thumps and whumps inform him that all is not well. Upstairs, Papa reorganizes everyone for a second attempt, but more problems ensue. One cub is too hot, another doesn't like his color, and still another wanders around, completely unraveling his green garment. Eventually, everyone is properly attired just in time to scoot outside and view a shooting star. Phelan's illustrations in pencil, ink, and watercolor have a cozy, comfortable feel. Oranges, browns, and greens predominate, well suited to the autumnal woodland setting. Small details in the artwork further enhance the mood: the seven cubs wreak havoc throughout the house in their day-long attempts to suit up, yet Papa remains calm and patient throughout, offering suggestions as they master this new skill. A perfect fall read-aloud, this should strike a chord with caregivers and toddlers alike.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Getting ready to go out is a major production for a bear parent overseeing seven obstreperous cubs. In Phelan's (Turtle Walk) cozy domestic world, the stubby cubs--miniature versions of their huge, furry parent--are all dressed in pajamas; an even smaller infant cub crawls thoughtfully over the rug. "Sweaters on!" orders the adult, after viewing the glorious autumn day outside. The cubs' expressions telegraph a variety of reactions: worry, skepticism, cheerful anticipation. Leaving the bears to it and settling down to knit, the bear caretaker eventually calls upstairs to check: "Sweaters on?" "Not yet," comes the answer. In nearly wordless vignettes, gestures and facial expressions do the comedic work as Phelan imagines ever more hilarious ways for small cubs to don big sweaters. When the family finally makes it out the door, a slight disappointment, and a small miracle, await. Phelan creates instantly likeable characters and a story that centers parenting seasoned enough to realize that setbacks are inevitable--and that makes space to enjoy the day, and beauty of nature, anyway. Ages 4--8. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Oct.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 2--In a pink bathrobe and with a cup of coffee in hand, a big bear peaks out of the window at the lovely red and orange fall foliage. It's time for the seven little bears to get their sweaters on! For these independent cubs (and one especially adorable baby bear), getting dressed is trickier than it seems. One little bear can't find the head hole, two are stuck in a single sweater, sweater arms are all tangled up, and one little bear's unraveling green sweater leaves a string of yarn dancing around the pages. With the big bear's help, all the cubs are finally wrangled and ready to venture out into the crispy air to enjoy the gathering dusk, and even a far-off shooting star. After all that preparation, it's time to go back inside and get the sweaters off for bedtime. While it might seem like a lot of effort for little payoff, at closer inspection this is a lovely story of one of life's magical moments, when a family takes time to appreciate nature and each other's companionship. Readers will want to don their own comfy sweaters and snuggle up with their loved ones. VERDICT A deceptively simple but warm and cozy celebration of autumn sweater weather.--Alyssa Annico, Youngstown State Univ., OH
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
Opening on a morning scene of autumnal domestic bliss, a large, bathrobe-clad bear holding a steaming mug looks out the window at falling leaves. "Sweaters ON!" the bear declares to a roomful of pajama-wearing cubs, and the story takes off. Wrangling seven small bears into sweaters is no easy feat, and the gloriously chaotic effort goes on for several pages, punctuated by brief, lively speech bubbles (the book's only text, and all it needs). Phelan's (You Are My Friend, rev. 11/19; Turtle Walk, rev. 1/21) soft, colorful art, created with pencil, ink, and watercolor, amplifies the coziness of all the bears and their clothing. The littlest cub, who is perhaps the most enthusiastic, manages to unravel its green sweater completely. Finally, six bear cubs are dressed; the littlest one is stuffed into a large stocking cap that the large bear has been knitting; and out everyone goes into...the night. The humor of the ending is just right, as is the large bear's last directive -- "Pajamas ON!" -- leading to the story's natural evolution into a bedtime book. This tribute to the realities of parenting small children (and bears) revels in the humor and joy that can be found when the best-laid plans go awry. Julie Roach November/December 2021 p.81(c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A warm read for the fall. Phelan's text is remarkably spare, with just a few precise phrases to knit together a narrative about an adult bear and their seven cubs. Frontmatter shows the grown-up bear clad in a bathrobe and looking out a kitchen window. The palette is dominated by warm red, gold, and brown tones, and the bear's brief directive to the cubs on the next page suggests an autumnal chill in the air. "Sweaters on!" the bear exclaims to the PJ-clad little ones. A basket of yarn sits off to the side, and on the next spread the big bear is seen sitting and knitting calmly while awaiting the cubs' descent from upstairs. "Sweaters on?" calls the big bear. "Not yet," is the reply. After hearing a clatter, the big bear goes upstairs to investigate and finds the cubs struggling to get dressed. Humorous watercolors show their little round bodies packed like sausages into a rainbow array of sweaters--including one sweater with two cubs stuffed inside. The struggle continues for several pages, with the patient grown-up bear attempting to help without much luck. Night has fallen by the time they finally go outside all bundled up, but they make the most of their time there before returning indoors for "Pajamas on!" time. (This book was reviewed digitally.) Cozy up with this picture book. (Picture book. 2-4) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.