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by Amy Hest & illustrated by Anita Jeram

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7636-0780-0
Publisher: Candlewick

“It was a dark and stormy night on Plum Street.” From this Bulwer-Lytton opening spins a comforting bedtime tale—owing not a little to another, more famous bedtime tale—of Sam the bear’s nighttime routine. In a well-rehearsed pattern, Mrs. Bear (dressed in a green cardigan) reads to Sam, tucks him in with his stuffed toys (one of which is very similar to a certain little rabbit from that famous bedtime tale), and gives him some milk, asking with each step if she has forgotten anything. Of course: kisses. Once delivered, Sam settles down at last “on a dark and stormy night on Plum Street.” Hest’s (The Friday Nights of Nana, p. 939, etc.) language is reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown’s in its enumeration of the minutiae of a small child’s bedtime rituals: “Mrs. Bear sat on the bed beside Sam and they read his favorite book and they both knew all the words.” The storm makes its presence felt within the text—“Outside the rain came down. Splat! on the roof”—but the coziness of the story protects Sam and the reader from the elements. Jeram’s (All Together Now, 1999, etc.) bright, acrylic, full-bleed illustrations focus on Sam’s bedroom, with its warm, yellow walls and big, green bed, the storm mostly relegated to glimpses through the window. A cute, even sweet, bedtime story, with text and illustrations that work well together, but really, do we need another Goodnight Moon? (Picture book. 2-5)