cover image Max and the Won’t Go to Bed Show

Max and the Won’t Go to Bed Show

Mark Sperring, illus. by Sarah Warburton. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-70822-7

Adults who fondly recall Gilda Radner’s “Judy Miller Show” sketch on Saturday Night Live may see a glimmer of that same frenetic showmanship in Max, who is presenting his “world-famous and death-defying PUTTING OFF BEDTIME FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE SHOW!” Can Max make time stand still by eating a cookie as slowly as possible, taming “the most savage of beasts” (the family’s rather laconic dog, Brian), and daring to ask for 10 bedtime stories? Nope. But it’s great fun to watch him try, because his stalling tactics never seem motivated by spoiled brat stubbornness; when Max finally throws in the towel, it’s with the satisfaction of knowing he’s given it his all. Sperring (Dino-Baby) ably channels a charismatic ringmaster, and it will take either pathological shyness or laryngitis for those reading aloud to resist doing the same. Warburton (The Princess and the Presents) gives her hero all kinds of scenery-chewing poses while punctuating her spreads with theatrical typography, vaudevillian graphic devices, and dramatic lighting techniques that look like they’re borrowed from a family-friendly production of Cabaret. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)