A comics-inspired delight from France—the graphic-novel publisher’s first picture book—introduces an appealingly feisty girl to a U.S. audience.
Way past bedtime, Anna Banana’s engrossed in her book, finding it alternately “fascinating…frightening…hilarious…gripping.” Her six bleary stuffed toys try to sleep, but Anna’s loud guffaw startles them awake. Each critter—including Foxface, Whaley and Pingpong the penguin—tries to steal away for some shut-eye, only to be hauled back by Anna, who prefers being surrounded by her pals. Finally, she’s tired enough to turn out the light. But her sleepy entourage turns the tables, staging an impromptu musicale, a spirited group bed-jumping session and a running race. Anna protests vociferously, then apologizes to her “little peeps” for her belligerent behavior—and it’s lights out for all. Or is it? Roques’ cheery, translated text appears in word balloons. Dormal’s mixed-media illustrations, in borderless panels and spots (often four to a page), exude a cartoonish zeal. Illustrations on endpapers add to the narrative (though jacket flaps obscure too much of it). The toys’ impressive emotional range is deftly captured, and clever details (such as Whaley spouting when Anna startles the group awake) should amuse both parents and kids.
This tidy little package could inspire an uptick in bedtime exuberance. Happily, another outing with Anna and company is planned. (Picture book. 3-7)