In a rain forest, four animal mamas search for their rambunctious, not-at-all-tired babies so they can put them to bed.
The mothers—leopard, elephant, orangutan, and panda—all obviously friends, sit in and under a tree knitting or sewing as they notice that the sun is going down. Meanwhile, in the background, readers can spy the four tots climbing a tree, their fun clearly not yet done. Indeed, their imaginations are still running wild with pirate adventures. But when they realize their mothers are looking for them, the game is on—hide-and-seek, that is. The children try all sorts of camouflage and costumes as they attempt to blend in to the forest backdrop. Meanwhile, their mothers call to them in patterned verse that includes a description and a promise for tomorrow’s fun: “Come now, my leopard, / All spotted and peppered, / Tomorrow you’ll pounce, / You’ll roar and you’ll race.” The gentle rhyming verses are interspersed with onomatopoeic words and moments of tension (“Gotcha!”), though the whole ends on a quiet note that makes this a good choice for children’s own bedtimes. The yellow, orange, and blue palette in the ink, colored pencil, and Photoshop illustrations is striking, especially considering the jungle setting. Although readers shouldn’t expect these animals to be found in the same locale in the wild—or to be friends—it’s a genial outing.
A sweet bedtime tale. (Picture book. 3-6)