Learn more about CCRLS
Reading recommendations from Novelist
Online learning resources
Cover image for Don't spill the beans!
Don't spill the beans!
Other title(s):
Do not spill the beans!

1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, ©2010.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
A bear tries hard to keep a birthday surprise a secret.
Reading Level:


Call Number

On Order



Bear's got a secret.

What could it be?

Could it have something to do with you?

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Bear has a secret he keeps from readers, but he goes around blabbing it, telling it, and blurting it to all of his animal friends. His secret has something to do with the set of cards and gift-wrapped box he's hiding behind his back. This would be a fun book to share with preschoolers on their birthday because the cub is the center of attention and, at the end of the story, the cards are revealed to spell out "Happy Birthday" and the box to be holding a cake. The cards the animals hold up give youngsters the opportunity to learn letters and colors, and the candles on the cake can be used for counting practice. The story is told in short rhyming sentences of large, colorful, hand-lettered text. The ink and acrylic paint illustrations depict cheerfully clothed animals with expressive faces. Both text and artwork are set against generous white space. Best read one-on-one, this title is a good first purchase for libraries needing picture books on birthdays.-Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

The cast from last year's Read It, Don't Eat It! is back, albeit with a much slighter premise in tow. Bear has a secret and can't keep it quiet ("Don't spill the beans!/ Don't let it slip!/ Don't give it away!/ Just button your lip!"). Given that Schoenherr did such a great job putting a fun spin on sensible-but-boring rules for handling books in his previous picture book, readers (and grownups) may be surprised by the direction this story takes. The narrator quickly changes gears and gives Bear permission to tell all to everyone he knows: "Blurt it to Turtle./ Also Baboon./ Blab it to Rabbit./ Alert Raccoon." This chain of confidences ends on the final spread, where the secret is revealed: a "Happy Birthday" wish for the reader. Once again, Schoenherr's vintage-styled animal portraits are wholly endearing; he's particularly good at giving very big animals (the hippo, elephant, and kangaroo) the earnest mannerisms of very small children. But the slender plot and highly specific punch line offer little to anyone who isn't being feted in the near future. Up to age 4. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

A bear cub can't resist sharing a secret with friends ("Tip off Hippo. / Break it to Bat. / Leak it to Beaver, to Lemur, to Cat!") and, finally, with the reader: the animals brandish letters spelling out "Happy birthday to you!" The endearing illustrations in this birthday card of a book feature animals, big and small, dressed in preschooler attire. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

"What's THAT, Bear? / Don't spill the beans! / Don't let it slip! / Don't give it away! / Just button your lip!" Bear has a brightly colored box, but he is having a difficult time keeping its contents a secret. So he tells Elephant and Toucanand one by one, one animal leads to another. He tips off Hippo and blabs to Rabbit. Before long everyone knows. Everyone but the readers, that is. "Well, Bear, / THAT was fun, / but didn't you / forget someone?" When he and his pals spell it out, it's a special wish about a very special day. Schoenherr's vibrantly dressed, wide-eyed animals are expressive, and each is overjoyed to be in on the secret. The ink-and-acrylic illustrations hearken back to the Golden Books of days long gone, and the big, friendly, hand-lettered text makes this ideal for doing double duty as a beginning reader for those just learning to sound out their letters and put together words. Great for storytimes on secrets or as a special birthday gift. (Picture book. 1-4) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Schoenherr's latest picture book stars a sweet-looking bear resembling Corduroy, only taller, with bigger ears, and in overalls that are actually securely fastened. Told in playful rhymes in big typeface, the text is, notwithstanding the title, all about Bear spilling the beans. On the first pages, Bear is shown trying to hide a big wrapped box behind him. He covers his mouth with his paw as the narrator urges him not to let it slip. When he falls down from the effort, the narrator gives in: Can't bear it? / Can't hold it tight? / Need to share it? / Oh . . . all right . . . From here follows a lively roll call: Blurt it to Turtle. / Also Baboon. / Blab it to Rabbit. / Alert Raccoon. Set against white space, Schoenherr's utterly charming illustrations feature expressive animals in bright polka-dot and striped clothing, listening attentively to bear's secret. It all leads up to a big happy-birthday message to the reader, but children will want to revisit this more often than once a year.--Nolan, Abby Copyright 2010 Booklist