cover image Everything to Spend the Night from A to Z

Everything to Spend the Night from A to Z

Ann Whitford Paul, Maggie Smith. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2511-9

Asked to pack for even the briefest excursion, children invariably put in everything but the kitchen sink--a proclivity that Paul (Hello Toes! Hello Feet!) and Smith (Counting Our Way to Maine) capitalize on with inexhaustible exuberance. Arriving at her grandfather's for a sleepover, a dynamo of a girl gleefully starts unpacking her duffel: ""First some Apples we can share/ with Bunny and my fuzzy Bear./ They cry whenever I'm not home./ I couldn't leave them all alone."" But this is no simple alphabetical show-and-tell. The heroine is one of those children who seems to be everywhere at once, always coming up with a new idea (especially in the name of delaying bedtime): paddling a boat that she's constructed from chairs, playing queen with her quilt. Grandpa gamely plays along, not even seeming to mind when the girl shows him ""A Hairbrush for your hair,"" and then points out his bald pate. Rather than moving in a lockstep march to the progression of the alphabet, Paul's text has a wonderful loosey-goosey feel, with a consistently comic and plausible story line. Smith's strongly hued watercolors bounce with energy, and she endows the little girl with plenty of spunk. A skillful mixing of formats and perspectives and a playful use of type guarantee a whirlwind visual pace. Ages 2-7. (Mar.)