Doubleday Book of Bedtime Stories

Fiona Waters, Editor, Penny Dann, Illustrator
Fiona Waters, Editor, Penny Dann, Illustrator Doubleday Books for Young Readers $16 (78p) ISBN 978-0-385-30790-1
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This agreeable if somewhat uneven compilation of 12 previously published short tales comprises works by such well-loved authors as Margaret Mahy, Charlotte Zolotow and Margaret Wise Brown as well as lesser-known authors. Particularly pleasing are Zolotow's ``Big Sister and Little Sister,'' a sweet, unadorned tale about learning to fend for oneself, and Brown's ``The Little Girl's Medicine,'' concerning a wise doctor's prescription for loneliness. A minor fault here is that the preponderance of animal stories lends the book a degree of sameness. In addition, because they are so short, a few of the pieces seem insubstantial even by bedtime-story standards. And, with the notable exception of Brown's story, the older works have generally not held up as well as the more recent material. Nonetheless, these gentle tales are sure to prove a welcome addition to the nighttime library. Dann's watercolors make a commendable effort to depict ethnically diverse characters but, with their pastel tones and lack of facial definition, appear somewhat insipid. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)
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