cover image The Sleepytime Book

The Sleepytime Book

Jan Wahl. Tambourine Books, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10275-3

In free-verse couplets, veteran author Wahl ( Humphrey's Bear ; A Gift for Miss Milo ) portrays a series of animals as they creep into their nighttime resting places. The lilting rhythms, alliteration and repeated refrain are indeed soothing--``Black Bear climbs / into a soft, leafy den / with the taste of honey / on his fat paws. / He licks the last lick / of sweet, gummy honey. / Sleepytime Bear.'' Some may feel, however, that these verses represent too much of a good thing: by book's end Wahl has recounted the bedtime habits of 17 creatures, habits that in many cases are similar to one another. The pastel drawings by first-time illustrator Johnson, in nocturnal blues and greens, have an unaffected sweetness. Black Bear cuddles his own small teddy bear; Moose dons a muffler; Centipede rests his head on a tiny pillow. (Though the art, too, pales somewhat from repetition.) Still, this affable offering may well work its charms on drowsy youngsters. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)