Smiles and wild creatures abound in this playful mother-child bedtime routine.
Each of mom’s friendly suggestions to get a move on is met with a “NOT YET!” and a delaying protest: “I’m learning to fly, / with geese in the sky!” and “If I tickle giraffe, / She’ll giggle and laugh!” and “Monkey needs a squeeze… / she sleeps in those trees!” Like many celebrities who try to write for children, film actor Sen isn’t the most adroit versifier (“Elephant must floss, / to make his tusk gloss”), but she does take the drama out of the nightly ritual by making it more a game than a contest of wills. So does Curnick, with smiles all round on human and animal faces alike. The brown skins of the bright-eyed parent and child suggest South Asian heritage, and the bedroom, bath, and clothing in the domestic scenes that alternate with imagined outdoor ones in the painted illustrations are Western in style and appearance. Readers can track the child’s reluctant bedtime progress in the illustrations, as gradually red overalls are shed in favor of blue-striped pajamas and bunny slippers in both real-life and imagined scenes. One last try—“I will kiss kangaroo!”—gets a firm parental veto with “NO, now I’ll kiss you!” and a final tuck-in: “And I love you too! / Night-night!”
A warm and spirited invitation to dreamland. (Picture book. 4-6)