Grete Janus Hertz, Author, Nynke Mare Talsma, Illustrator , illus. by Nynke Mare Talsma, trans. by Tatin Rose. Star Bright $12.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-887734-90-5

In this brief tale from a Dutch team, young Olie, unable to sleep, slips out of his house, walks into town and meets up with professionals working the night shift. But despite their ostensibly exciting jobs, the police officers, bus driver, firefighters and road repairmen seem anything but elated to be staying up late. In fact, with a big "Y-a-w-n," everyone tells Olie that bed's the best place to be. "Then why don't you go home to bed?" Olie asks. The answer, of course, is that they must carry out their responsibilities. Wiser and sleepier, Olie returns to his own bed and quickly falls asleep. The crisp watercolor and ink pictures exude an uncomplicated warmth (the town at night is an utterly benign place), and the simply rendered workplaces incorporate just enough realistic details to satisfy children fascinated by adult jobs and their accoutrements. Hertz grounds the whimsical premise with a satisfying and credible interior logic (Olie easily reenters his house without disturbing anyone since, "The door was open because he forgot to close it when he went out"). Without being preachy or obvious, this book may actually convince recalcitrant kids that they're lucky to be in bed at night. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/07/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!