cover image Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime

Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime

Cate Berry, illus. by Charles Santoso. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-249153-4

Never mind that Penguin is wearing jammies and Little Shrimp a sleeping cap; the two let readers know up front that “this is not a bedtime book” and “we don’t do bedtime!” Relayed entirely through speech balloons, the story is propelled by Penguin’s flippant dismissal of bedtime rituals (“You won’t catch us with sleepy sheep or wishing stars”) and his diminutive sidekick’s snappy quips (“Sayonara, Sheep!” says Tiny Shrimp to a herd of sheep expecting to be counted). Debut author Berry revs up her romp as the duo evades with gusto, leaping into a sky illuminated by fireworks, running from a lion in the Serengeti, swinging from vines in the rain forest, and sailing through shark-infested waters. Animals from each escapade join the cast to expand the menagerie, and all stage a raucous sing-along that’s cut short by yawns and drooping eyelids—despite Penguin’s assertion that “This book will never make you yawn.” He’s likely right: the digital art from Santoso (Peanut Butter & Aliens)—highlighted by comical images of the wide-eyed, open-mouthed title characters—energizes Berry’s tactically understated text, often wryly turning it on its head. A buoyantly subversive antibedtime tale. Ages 5–8. [em]Author’s agent: Alexandra Penfold, Upstart Crow Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Justin Rucker, Shannon Associates. (May) [/em]