Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, , illus. by Laura Huliska-Beith. . Dial, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2597-3

Bradley (The Weaver's Daughter) uses a nighttime ritual to launch a boy's flight of fancy. When his mother asks, "What was your favorite thing today?" young Matthew replies with several related out-of-this-world chronicles. "Daddy and I had a supersonic car. We took the checkered flag. We got a huge trophy. The elephants went wild." Huliska-Beith's (The Looking Book) makes the most of the boy's tale-spins, from an elephant driving a race car garbage truck to a "giant tyrannosaurus squirrel" at school with gnashing teeth and a spike collar. The nighttime recap gets more convoluted and silly with each page turn. "And one of the elephants lives in Wisconsin too, and so does Spencer's grandma." Readers trying to follow a line of logic in Matthew's storytelling may get lost amid his superheroes and "rude invaders" (aka the boy's sisters). In the end, Huliska-Beith provides the connection to reality; the book's penultimate scene shows Matthew's toy-strewn bedroom with a race track, stuffed elephants, a rocketship and a real squirrel climbing the tree outside his window. Embellished with bits of paper- and-fabric-collage, the artwork brims with playful curves, cartoonish characters and fanciful touches such as quilts with fabric squares and blue elephants with plaid ears. Parents may appreciate the humor in Mommy's responses, even if youngsters prefer to tell their own fanciful stories instead of following the protagonist's circuitous plot. Despite its long-winded absurdity, this could spur creative tuck-in routines. Ages 4-8. (June)