Bedtime diversions and traditional rhymes are a winning combination here.
When Bonnie and Ben’s favorite babysitter, Skinny Doug, offers a bedtime salute of “Good night, sleep tight. / Hope the fleas don’t bite!” he embarks on a command performance of seven traditional rhymes. The not-very-sleepy duo keeps him going, as he recites from his personal repertoire: “ ‘We love it! we love it!’ said Bonnie and Ben./ ‘How does it go? Will you say it again?’ ” This catchy refrain follows each of the resourceful babysitter’s rhymes. To their entreaties to repeat each one, Skinny Doug replies, “I’ll tell you another / I learned from my mother.” After “Good night, sleep tight,” Skinny Doug offers “It’s raining, it’s pouring,” “This little piggie,” “Pat-a-cake,” “Round and round the garden,” “This is the way the ladies ride,” and “Star light, star bright.” The engaging, economical framing text is memorable and sweetly appealing, sure to encourage little listeners to participate. The finite number of rhymes introduced before the babysitter hustles Bonnie and Ben off to sleep is just right: It’s enough for one sitting, where larger collections bring the inevitable negotiation about where to stop. Horacek’s simple, solid lines and primary colors are friendly, cheery and almost exuberantly inviting.
Sure to be requested and welcome for lapsits and reciting together any time of day. (Picture book. 1-5)