Christine Anderson. Philomel Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24004-1
The bedtime ritual gets a surprise twist in Anderson's debut book. Melanie is too busy building a block tower to go to sleep, so Mom decides to put Bart the dog to bed instead. Salerno (Little Tumbo) outlines characters and minimal props with bold, dark strokes; full-bleed spreads, in hues of light blue, yellow and brown, hark back to generations of bedtime rituals. He shows Mom and Bart in the bathroom on the left, and Melanie absorbed with her blocks on the right. Mom plays with Bart in the tub, brushes his teeth, and Melanie arrives just as her mother is tying a ribbon in Bart's hair: ""Hey!... That's my ribbon."" When Daddy comes in to give Bart ""a big good-night kiss,"" Melanie realizes she's missing out on all her favorite nighttime routines. A trio of silhouette images shows Bart jumping toward bed, story in mouth, and Melanie rapidly brushing her teeth and getting into her pajamas (""She had already missed... Daddy's big good-night kiss. She didn't want to miss her favorite part of the bedtime story, too!""). Delightful pictures of dolled-up Bart combined with momentum-building pacing make this sweet story a bedtime winner-one parents will welcome. Ages 3-up.
Reviewed on: 07/04/2005