Christopher Sat Straight Up in Bed

Kathy Long, Author, Patricia Cantor, Illustrator
Kathy Long, illus. by Patricia Cantor. Eerdmans, $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5359-2
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Cantor creates a notably suspenseful atmosphere for Long’s story through hazy pastel drawings that feature eerie lighting and dark blue shadows. “Honk-shoo” is the nighttime noise that worries Christopher, a small hedgehoglike creature. “It sounds like an elephant trumpeting,” writes Long (The Runaway Shopping Cart) as Christopher peers through the venetian blinds at a moonlit tree, while Cantor (Sleeping Bootsie) supplies a separate drawing of the imagined elephant, clinging perilously to a thin branch. Then Christopher looks under his bed, suspecting a monster (which Cantor draws as a three-handed creature with weird antennae), but nothing is there either. More investigation and more imagined creatures follow. Christopher listens, finally, at the door of his grandparents’ bedroom. “Grandma poked Grandpa with her elbow. ‘You’re snoring. Roll over,’ she said.” The punch line is a bit of a letdown compared with the menagerie Christopher has imagined, from dinosaur to mountain lion. In a quiet last joke, the imaginary noise-making animals tiptoe down the street. Most appropriate for young children just learning to face their own nocturnal fears. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Jamie Weiss Chilton, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Feb.)
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