cover image The Prince Won’t Go to Bed!

The Prince Won’t Go to Bed!

Dayle Ann Dodds, , illus. by Kyrsten Brooker. . FSG/Kroupa, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-36108-2

As in Joanne Oppenheim’s The Prince’s Bedtime , a prince’s servants and courtiers try one remedy after another to try to coax their royal subject into retiring for the night, but he obdurately refuses: “ 'Waa! Waa! Waa!/ I will not go to bed!’ / the teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, little Prince said.” Not even new pillows and mattresses, pipers and drummers, or a three-foot high pudding will do the trick. Dodds’s (previously paired with Brooker for Henry’s Amazing Machine ) rhymed text abounds with the kind of repetitions in structure and language that make children want to join in. When old Lord Gerty suggests a bath, he and the nanny “rub-dubbed through the castle,/ they rub-dubbed through the hall,” until they think the happy prince is fast asleep. (“No one heard a peep.... But then...”). The fonts grow larger and Brooker’s hilarious, cock-eyed collages ever more frantic with each repetition of the prince’s “Waa! Waa! Waa!” Dodds solves the problem by having the prince whisper to his sister exactly what he needs to fall asleep: a good-night kiss. Although the book is raucous enough to let kids shed their energy, it comes to a satisfying, quiet conclusion, eminently suitable for bedtime. Ages 3-6. (Nov.)