cover image When the World Is Ready for Bed

When the World Is Ready for Bed

Gillian Shields, , illus. by Anna Currey. . Bloomsbury, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-59990-339-2

For three bunnies and their parents, nightfall brings a comforting set of domestic rituals: family dinner, common room cleanup (“Now clear the room/ And tidy up;/ There's a toy,/ And here's a cup”), sharing of the day's news and, finally, snuggling into bed. It's a story that's been told countless times, but the quiet grace of this unabashedly old-fashioned book makes it easy to justify finding just a little more room on the shelf. Shields's (Puppy Love: The Story of Esme and Sam ) rhymes are a model of economy (“Today has nearly/ Slipped away;/ Tomorrow brings/ Another day”), but as every parent knows, tender sentiments don't have to be grandiose to be effective. Currey's (A Babysitter for Billy Bear ) watercolors, all double-page spreads, are an intriguing combination of Beatrix Potteresque delicacy and expansive scale—the images feel big and small at the same time, assuring diminutive readers that home is not only a refuge from the world, but also a world that's all their own. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)