cover image Good Night, Sleep Tight

Good Night, Sleep Tight

Penelope Lively. Candlewick Press (MA), $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-417-6

In novelist Lively's second picture book (after The Cat, the Crow, and the Banyan Tree), a girl cares for her ``large family'' of stuffed toys with such vigor that she sinks into bed each night exhausted. One particular evening, however, her restless charges beg to take her on an excursion. She experiences ``frog things'' at her amphibian friend's pond, enjoys a roaring good time with Lion in ``a faraway place,'' walks with Cat through his ``dark world'' and dances what's left of the night away with Mary Ann. Lively's prowess shines through in her animated banter between the girl and her brood and in phraseology both descriptive (``They made such a racket that the ground shivered and the stars shook'') and amusing (``Lion said, `We have an idea.' The girl said, `We go to sleep now. We don't have ideas'""). Gon's (Here Comes Tod!) sprightly, loosely rendered illustrations spotlight the towheaded, pig-tailed heroine and her button-eyed crew tucked under a cozy patchwork quilt or frolicking through large-scale landscapes. A diverting change from quieter bedtime stories, this nocturnal romp celebrates adventure and the power of imagination in high style. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)