A gentle and playful bedtime voyage.

GOOD NIGHT, GOOD NIGHT

THE ORIGINAL LONGER VERSION OF THE GOING TO BED BOOK

A motley crew of Boynton critters get ready for bed aboard a boat in this picture book based on the beloved The Going to Bed Book, first published as a board book in 1982.

“The sun has set not long ago. // Now everybody goes below // to take a bath / in one big tub / with soap all over— / SCRUB SCRUB SCRUB!” In gently rhyming verse that generations of readers have committed to memory already, a hippo, a dog, a couple of rabbits, a pig, a moose, an elephant, and more take a bath, put on pajamas, and brush their teeth. Playfully (but slightly inexplicably right before bedtime), they head to the deck to exercise. The pacing has been stretched out so that scenes that once occupied one page now stretch out over double-page spreads. The main addition to the original book’s text is an interpolated scene in which the animals pile into bed and two rabbits sing a lullaby. Complete with lyrics and notation, the song is about many of the critters wallowing in the mud with the hippos. The bedtime routine ends with the menagerie being rocked to sleep in the arklike boat. Fans of The Going to Bed Book will note that very little is actually new, but it is a joy to see Boynton’s colorful characters and playful verse in a larger trim size. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gentle and playful bedtime voyage. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9974-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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An adventurous treat of a bedtime story.

BEDTIME FOR SWEET CREATURES

A patient mother with a healthy sense of whimsy helps prepare her headstrong toddler for bed.

The story opens with a toddler, fists raised into the air, proclaiming, “No! No! No!” Thank goodness this not-at-the-moment-sweet creature’s mother is patient and creative as she corrals her child into a bedtime routine that may feel familiar to many readers. The words and behaviors of the child evading bed are translated into animal sounds and behaviors: wide-eyed and asking “Who? Who?” like an owl; shaking hair and roaring like a lion; hanging on for a hug like a koala. And, of course, the requisite leaving bed for a last trip to the bathroom and drink, like a human child. Zunon’s art takes this book to the next level: Her portrayals of the animals mentioned in the text are colorful and full of intriguing patterns and shapes. Additionally, the expressions on the faces of the mother, child, and animals speak volumes, portraying the emotions of each. Arguably, the sweetest part of the story comes at the end, when the child asks to sleep with Mommy and Dad. Though the mother sighs, the child climbs in, along with “owl, bear, snake, kitty, fawn, squirrel, koala, tiger, wolf.” (Readers attuned to details will notice the father’s look of delight at the parade of animals.) All characters are Black.

An adventurous treat of a bedtime story. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-3832-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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