cover image Bedtime!


Joan W. Blos. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $13 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-81031-2

This clever bedtime tale is sleep-inducing without being soporific, and offers adults a playful strategy for dealing with obstinate sleepyheads. When a grandmother announces, ""Bedtime!"", her grandson says, ""No."" However, as the evening draws on (marked by the changing minute hand on the clock face), the boy reports, one by one, that his three stuffed companions may be growing sleepy. The grandma tucks each one into the boy's bed with a goodnight kiss, then begins to read them a bedtime story ""with no one sitting on her lap."" The little boy climbs aboard to snuggle and hear the story's conclusion, and soon willingly joins his furry friends in bed. Writing in spare, soothing tones spiced with a sly sense of humor, Blos (A Gathering of Days) skillfully evokes a grandmother who knows little boys all too well, and appeals to a child's sense of play. She employs just the right amount of repetition to keep her young audience rapt to the last page. The calming, methodical rhythm of the text is mirrored in Lambert's (When I Was Like You) full-bleed, single-page pastels. His dense, geometric style echoes the boy's blocks and toys, and his warm hunter greens, burgundies and midnight blues emit shades of dusk. Although adults may have the most fun following Lambert's subtle gibe about the narrative's brief passage of time (the clock shows the story beginning at 7:00 p.m., and ending at 7:45), anyone with a curfew will find this book an all-around good time. Ages 1-3. (May)