It’s a big, scary world out there, and children sometimes need a little reassurance that they are safe and loved.
Hibernate with Me does precisely that by coupling a feel-good rhyme with delightful illustrations of a parent bear comforting his or her cub. Written and illustrated by Benjamin Scheuer and Jemima Williams, respectively, this book works well as a bedtime story and/or lullaby.
That’s right: a lullaby. In fact, Hibernate with Me was first written by Scheuer as a song, with the words lending themselves nicely to a children’s story. While the book functions first and foremost as an illustrated tale, with no musical prowess required, the last spread of the book features the lyrics, chords and melody.
And that, for my little musical family, is what helped this story really stand out for us. That’s not to say the book doesn’t work on its own—because it does—it’s just that we’ve never had a book inspire us to break out our instruments and learn an entirely new tune.
My husband, a multi-instrumentalist, started off learning to play it on the piano, and then one day during nap time, I plucked away at the ukulele until I figured out the melody (no small feat for me, considering I’m self-taught and reading music is slow-going at best). It felt like quite an accomplishment, which isn’t something I normally expect from children’s literature.
Ultimately, we decided the song sounds lovely on the ukulele, and in the process of recording the below video, our daughter commandeered one of my instruments and started to play along. There’s one linguistic slip-up here, but we didn’t dare try to recreate this, for reasons evident to anyone who has ever spent more than an hour alone with a toddler.
Recommended by the publisher for kids ages 4-8, our 2.5 year old had no problems following along. She’s an anxious little thing at times, and the book’s message of comfort and security was not lost on her. We also think the song, when removed from the context of a children’s book, could double as an endearing tune for a friend or significant other.
Our video features less than half of the song and was recorded prior to hearing the official release, which I’m also including below.
The official video features illustrations from the book. And, well, the melody as it was actually intended.