cover image KISS GOOD NIGHT


Amy Hest, , illus. by Anita Jeram. . Candlewick, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0780-7

Hest (When Jessie Came Across the Sea) pays tribute to reassuring bedtime rituals that assuage a toddler's fears even on a "dark and stormy night." Sam the bear cub will not go to sleep. "I'm waiting," he keeps telling Mrs. Bear, even though she's checked off everything on the bedtime list: book, blanket, friends (his stuffed toys) and milk. Then it dawns on Sam's mom that she's forgotten the kiss good night. Sam manages to coax a total of 10 goodnight kisses from Mom. With understated repetition and lyricism, Hest establishes the coziness of the nighttime interplay as well as the menacing sounds of the storm from inside Sam's bedroom: "Splat! on the roof. Splat! Splat! on the windows. The wind blew. Whoo, whoooo." Jeram moves from the light palette and breezy artwork in Guess How Much I Love You to thickly applied acrylic paintings. Her radiantly rendered ochre and rust shades translate easily from the autumn storm outside to the sturdy furniture and heavy wool blankets inside. While her characters' expressions seldom change, she uses their contrasting physical presence to great effect. The hulking Mrs. Bear is a literal bulwark of maternal devotion, while Sam's roly-poly poses comically communicate his coy devotion. Ages 2-up. (Aug.)