Before I Go to Sleep

Thomas Hood, Author, Maryjane Begin-Callanan, Illustrator, Maryjane Begin, Illustrator
Thomas Hood, Author, Maryjane Begin-Callanan, Illustrator, Maryjane Begin, Illustrator Putnam Publishing Group $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-21638-1
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
For children who find that the summer hours between bedtime and darkness are hard to pass, this book offers welcome relief. Fantasies that lead eventually to the Land of Nod run rampant in the head of a boy who must go to bed before nightfall. Dreams of being an industrious cat (mending a roof with the aid of mice and cardinals), a regal dog bedecked with crown and ermine-trimmed cape and a leaping mountain goat--complete with purple-and-pink-striped socks--pass through the restless child's mind. In style and content, Hood's 19th-century verse stands the test of time remarkably well, indicating that some of the problems children face are ageless. Begin-Callanan's splendidly detailed, deliciously colored paintings are filled with comical touches such as tourist penguins, with sardines hanging from the pockets of their ``jams,'' lining up to buy ice cubes from a polar bear. By setting the pictures in progressive stages of darkness (similar to Clement Hurd's technique in Goodnight, Moon ), the artist gradually draws the curtain on consciousness until the last page shows the darkened room of the peacefully sleeping boy. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
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