Thirty-one years after a wakeful flea roused the heaped-up sleepers in The Napping House, a full moon finds the household struggling to get back to sleep.
“There is a house, / a full-moon house, / where everyone is restless,” from “sleepless granny” to “fidgety child” to “playful dog” to “prowling cat” to “worried mouse.” Don Wood’s acrylics re-create the familiar bedroom with a deep blue, nighttime palette. Though the house’s denizens are restless, its furniture oozes sleepiness, the comfortably rounded bedsteads and chair back slumping forward slightly in sympathy with the granny, who is clearly desperate to get some shut-eye. In this visit to the familiar house, a “chirping cricket” finally settles everyone down with a “full-moon song” until “no one now is restless.” Audrey Wood’s cumulative story takes the same pattern as in the previous book, a mirroring that its fans will instantly recognize but that works against this follow-up’s concept. The sonorous lines are almost identical to those that describe the sleepers in the first book, but they do not conjure restlessness; moreover, as the cricket’s song works its magic and sends the characters to sleep, the page turns speed up instead of slowing down for a far-from-sleepy effect. Don Wood wisely eschews the temptation to replicate the first book’s humorously indelible image of sleeper piled upon sleeper, instead varying composition and perspective slightly with each double-page spread to create a gentle turbulence that slows down gradually as the characters calm.
Fans will doubtless be happy to revisit old friends, but they will probably still reach for the original more than this once the novelty wears off. (Picture book. 4-8)