cover image Vegetables Go to Bed

Vegetables Go to Bed

Christopher L. King, Mary GrandPre. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $12 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-517-59125-3

Corncobs ``snuggle up in corn silk'' and spinach plants dream of ``wild green wonderlands'' as night descends upon the garden. These anthropomorphized vegetables have a surreal quality, their sly smiles signifying more of a fantasy than a bedtime story. GrandPre ( Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat ) again displays her flair for unusual perspectives and lighting; however, the sharp angles and elongated characters of her debut picture book give way here to a wavy elegance: a row of dancing carrots seems suspended, as if underwater. Despite some inviting imagery and clever wordplay (the potatoes close their eyes, the onions weep themselves to sleep), King's text does not live up to the promise of the artwork. The frustratingly uneven meter of the verse impedes the flow: ``Every pea and carrot / Every head of lettuce / Cabbage, bean, and brussels sprout / Will be tucked in / Before the stars come out.'' Deep, purple skies cast a romantic glow over the slumbering vegetables, yet the magic, like the verse, seems forced. Ages 2-6. (Apr.)