cover image Race You to Bed

Race You to Bed

Bob Shea. HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-170417-8

Even before the title page in this lively romp of a bedtime book, a white rabbit challenges readers to a race to bed. The rabbit’s adventures are initially conventional (“Up to bed.../ down to bed...”), but quickly become silly (“All around a goat to bed”). The wide-eyed, irrepressible rabbit goes through poison ivy, swings across a river of crocodiles, and endures outlandish adventures full of non sequiturs (“Sneeze to bed!/ Grilled cheese to bed!/ Angry, angry bees to bed”). In a clever bedtime-friendly ending, it announces, “Looks like I beat you!... Oh, you’re already in bed?/ You were way up ahead?/ Okay then, race you to sleep! ” Shea’s illustrations of the rabbit—with purple kewpie doll eyes, pink ears and belly, and cottony fur—are a tad saccharine, and its expressions are somewhat repetitive, but like the high-energy narrator of Shea’s New Socks (a book he pictures the rabbit reading), this zippy rabbit gets the last laugh as it winks at readers to indicate it’s only pretending to sleep. Ages 4–7. (Feb.)