This French import by Saudo impresses with its comic take on the now-popular role-reversal of a child trying to get his parent to bed.
The wry narrative tone of a smallish but still substantial boy always displayed in profile conveys the exasperation most parents experience. Dad, depicted in a proper hat and tie, declares, “I don’t want to go to bed!” And so begins the convincing, debating, distracting and demanding—from both sides. As the tension escalates with stubborn refusals and increasingly silly behavior (dad in a handstand or swinging from the chandelier), the boy turns to “the story trick [that] works every time.” Daddy wants another and another, “[b]ut enough is enough!” After a few more negotiations (tucking the fedora-clad Daddy in, firmly telling him he must sleep in his own bed) the recalcitrant oldster finally says, “ ‘Good night,’…in a small, faraway voice.” Dad may be “big / and strong, / but he’s afraid of the dark.” DiGiacomo’s mixed-media illustrations in a bedtime palette of browns and grays lend an irresistible whimsy to this humorous if less-than-original tale. Young insomniacs will recognize themselves in the antics of the oversized dad and enjoy poring over the naively drawn details found on every page.
With far more genuineness than Seriously, Just Go to Sleep, this is sure to be a hit with preschoolers. (Picture book. 3-6)