A collection of rhymes for the very young falls smack in the middle of twee territory.
Prelutsky’s simple, consistent rhymes could prove pleasing to sleepy ears, but accompanying digital art by Ishida adds little to the collection. Many of the rhymes list various creatures or items, and the illustrations prove reiterative of the text, failing to build upon them to create something new. Granted, the redundancy between art and text could provoke something of an I Spy sort of game, prompting readers to point to those things named in the text, but page after page without an overriding sense of cohesion reads like a missed opportunity. Added to this flaw is the saccharine sensibility of the collection, populated by round, planar forms in soft colors that accompany rhyme after rhyme, each concluding with go-to-sleep messages. Backmatter includes sheet music for four of the lullaby rhymes, which is a nice added touch to a book that otherwise seems rather undistinguished.
While a goodnight book needn’t—shouldn’t—be stimulating or exciting, the market is so saturated with such reading material that new titles need to add something special to rise above the rest: This doesn’t. (Picture book. 0-3)