A potentially cozy nighttime mystery is sabotaged by an incomprehensible ending.
Cantor’s dim, grainy, luminously blue illustrations cast a properly atmospheric tone over little Christopher’s search for the source of a loud “Honk-Shoo” that wakes him up. Is it an elephant? A monster under his bed or in the closet? A dinosaur stomping down the street? No, as it turns out—it’s his grandpa, sawing away in the next room despite Grandma’s poking elbow. Christopher looks a little like a hedgehog, but he probably isn’t; his grandparents are definitely bears. But that’s not the only odd note here: After snuggling down between the couple despite Grandma’s superfluous warning that Grandpa snores, in the penultimate scene, the lad’s up again. He pulls on his Grandma’s arm for some reason as Grandpa bugles away. Is he trying to lead her back to his bedroom? Or poke Grandpa again? Neither the placement of the figures nor the closing, wordless dreamscape offers a clue.
A confusing, unfinished miss next to similarly themed outings like Melinda Long and Holly Meade’s When Papa Snores (2000), Barbara Joosse and Jan Jutte’s ROAWR! (2009) or Nicola Moon and Eleanor Taylor’s Tick-Tock, Drip-Drop! (2004). (Picture book. 3-5)