cover image The Big Bed

The Big Bed

Bunmi Laditan, illus. by Tom Knight. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-30123-1

Laditan brings the honesty and cheeky humor of her Honest Toddler books, blog, and tweets to her first picture book. Her prickly, precocious heroine is fiercely possessive of her mother (“No one can deny that Mommy is full of cozies and smells like fresh bread”), and she decides that the family bed has gotten far too small. There’s no way the girl is going to stay in her own bed—she’s afraid of the dark—so she offers her father an ultimatum disguised as a sales pitch, complete with visual aids and fake empathy (“Daddy, I see you. I hear you”). But wait, there’s more: Dad can sleep on a cot right next to the bed (“You’ll feel like an honorary park ranger and look like one, too!”). Knight’s cartoons alternatively flatter and tickle readers with the girl’s misplaced confidence, and his images reveal that Mommy and Daddy are a united, even bemused, front. Laditan’s story doesn’t so much end as abruptly stop, but many families will identify with her heroine’s I-mean-business attitude. Ages 4–6. [em]Illustrator’s agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright Group. (Feb.) [/em]