cover image Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

Nikki Grimes, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4926-3832-2

“No! No! No!” begins Grimes’s rhythmic, playful romp through a restless child’s bedtime routine. As the toddler resists sleep, a mother patiently creates an imaginary menagerie via vivid similes—“Your eyes swell, wide as owls... You coil beneath the quilt, silent as a snake”—transforming a bedroom into a forest full of friendly creatures. Zunon’s expressive, heavily textured collage is interspersed with abstract animals (evocative of Senufo textile art), clearly delineating imagined from real. Despite the mother’s best efforts at trumpeting away any monsters and checking under the bed before reading the child a story, the child appears at the parents’ bedside in the late night hours, pleading, “Mommy, can I sleep with you?” As she opens the covers for the tot to join, the parade of gentle beasts joins, helping to lull the now “very sleepy child” into slumber—and turning the visually pleasing adventure into a loving, effective lullaby. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)