Ben Over Night

Sarah Ellis, Author, Kim LaFave, Illustrator
Sarah Ellis, Author, Kim LaFave, Illustrator , illus. by Kim LaFave. Fitzhenry & Whiteside $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55041-807-1
Reviewed on: 05/23/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-55041-910-8
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Acknowledging that sleepovers can be difficult for some children, this thoughtful story addresses Ben's longing to spend the night at his best friend Peter's house across the street and the fears that prevent him from carrying out his wish. Ellis's text concisely leads into the dilemma: "Ben can be almost anything at Peter's house. He can be a pirate. He can be a musician. He can be a cook.... The one thing Ben can't be at Peter's house is a sleepover-nighter." LaFave (We'll All Go Sailing ) paints cartoon-like characters with dot eyes and minimal props (drum-set, sandwich tray) in silhouette against pale washes or white background. By contrast, three scenes illustrating Ben's middle-of-the-night episodes ("There are strange night noises. There is no cat on his stomach") appear on full-bleed, cobalt blue and black spreads, effectively conveying the boy's anxiety. Ben's parents are patient and encouraging, and his sister helps him come up with a way to assuage his fears. The story ends on the morning after a successful sleepover, with the words, "Ben can be anything at Peter's house." Compassionate and optimistic, this story may well help others in the hero's predicament to solve their problem. Ages 5-7. (May)

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