cover image Nighty-Night, Cooper

Nighty-Night, Cooper

Laura Numeroff, illus. by Lynn Munsinger. Houghton Mifflin, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-547-40205-5

Cooper is a small kangaroo who can’t get to sleep. When mama kangaroo responds with her own pastiche of “Rock-a-bye Baby” (“There’s a pig sailing/ in a small boat/ Going so slowly/ Floating along”), Cooper realizes he’s onto a delaying tactic and asks for more homemade songs; his request to “Please sing the one about the sky that I like” is met with a version of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” that celebrates the shapes of clouds. This homegrown Tin Pan Alley finally closes up shop for the night, but not before Cooper offers up a reengineered lullaby of his own: a sheep-counting variation of “Lullaby and Good Night.” Numeroff strikes just the right balance of silly and sweet as she injects fresh thinking into six musical chestnuts, and her easy-to-learn ditties make it simple for parents and children to serenade one another at bedtime. As always, Munsinger’s anthropomorphized animals are quietly marvelous, exuding tenderness, sly comedy, and astute observation. Readers of all ages will take one look at the initial image of the insomniac Cooper and want to know more. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)