cover image Petey's Bedtime Story

Petey's Bedtime Story

Beverly Cleary. HarperCollins, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10660-7

Petey is a kid who actually likes bedtime--even if he never quite gets to bed. The energetic boy splashes wildly in his bath before bounding into the lap of his sleepy mother for a bedtime story. After his yawning father reads him yet another one, the boy induces his patient parents to search under the bed for monsters and to listen to an endless recitation of prayers in which he blesses everyone he knows and says good night to each object in his room. And then he demands that they recount the events of the night he was born. When his father suggests that Petey tell the story this time, the child embellishes it with made-up details that young readers will relish--when he was born, he reports, he ``was wearing a bow tie and cowboy boots.'' Because his parents are sound asleep when he finishes his tale, Petey climbs out of bed, heads to the kitchen for a box of cookies and devours them all in his parents' bed, leaving plenty of crumbs. Cleary's text is as buoyant and amiable as its hero, and both his real and fabricated antics are captured cleverly in Small's ( Imogene's Antlers ) stylized pen-and-ink and watercolor pictures, which have an appealing 1950s flavor. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)