cover image THE NOISY WAY TO BED


Ian Whybrow, , illus. by Tiphanie Beeke. . Scholastic/Levine, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-439-55689-7

Will the sleepy boy ever get to say the word that both describes his destination and finishes Whybrow's (Sissy Buttons Takes Charge! ) rhyme? "This little boy was oh so tired/ and this is what he said:/ I think I'll go home past the pond,/ because this is the way to...." But before the boy can say "bed," a resident duck interrupts with "Quack!" "Hey!/ That's not what I meant to say," replies the boy. "Well, you can come along." As the sun sets, four other animals join the march home, each signing on as the boy walks past its domain, and each interrupting him with a whinny, oink or other appropriate sound. Finally, with a "Quiet! Shhhhhhh!" the boy gets the last word and the cozy bed he's sought. Set in the time leading up to lights out, the story invokes a lovely, dreamlike quality: the gentle, muted tone of the text, the boy's acquiescence to the animals, and the resolute yet surreal nature of the journey all seem like elements floating up from a sleeping consciousness. Beeke (Book! Book! Book! ) enhances that feeling with simple, solid characterizations and, by contrast, pastoral twilight landscapes in which the leaves, flowers and rays of sunlight seem to melt into one another, just as the boy and the animals later slide all the way into slumber. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)