Big Beanie’s New Bed

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Big Beanie’s New Bed
Author: Miwa Nakaya
Specifications: ISBN  978-4097265726
32 pages
18.4 x 27.0 cm / 7.3 x 10.8 in (WxH)
Category: Children & YA
Ages: 3+
Publisher: Shogakukan Inc.
Tokyo, 2015
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This is another installment in the hugely popular series of picture books featuring a charming fava-bean character named Soramame-kun, or Big Beanie.

Big Beanie’s most treasured possession is his cozy bean-pod bed. It’s as soft as cotton and as fluffy as the clouds. But recently it seems to have lost some of its bounce. The cottony “mattress” that used to feel so soft has gone flat and hard. As Big Beanie stands frowning at his predicament, his friends Peanut, Edamame, Pod-pea, and the Green Pea siblings come to offer their advice. All he needs is some fresh cotton, Pod-pea tells him, and Edamame chimes in that he’s heard about trees that cotton grows on. So Big Beanie sets out in search of “cotton trees,” pulling his bed behind him like a cart. He asks those he meets along the way—an ant, a ladybug, a butterfly, a little fish, etc.—if they know where he can find a “cotton tree.”

After a thrilling ride down a stream using his bed as a boat, Big Beanie finally finds the “cotton trees” he’s looking for—only to learn that they won’t produce cotton until much later in the season. There in cotton country, he makes friends with Pinto Bean, the Snap Pea sisters, and the Chickpea brothers as he passes the time waiting for the cotton to be ready. The cotton plants grow, their flowers bloom and fade, and then finally come the round pods that gradually swell and split open to release the cotton inside. At long last, Big Beanie can restore the fluff in his bed. He heads home, promising to return with his other friends sometime for a visit. Back at home, his friends are delighted with the gift of cotton he brings for them.

Young readers see the protagonist establishing warm friendships with those he meets while traveling away from home, and they also get to learn about the life cycle of the cotton plant.