A rabbit who is not ready to go to sleep traps The Dark in a cookie tin.
The Dark (joined by a chorus of bats, owls, and baby foxes) quietly remonstrates from within the cookie tin, explaining that certain animals are awake at night and also that without bedtime there can be no breakfast. Gradually, Rabbit’s grumpy resistance fades…then vanishes when he sees his prized carrots wilting in the constant daytime heat. At last he opens the tin—a flap that lifts to unfold a big, spectacular starry sky—and: “ ‘WOW!’ said Rabbit. ‘The Dark can be so beautiful.’ ” Off goes Rabbit to bed, and barely has The Dark begun to murmur a bedtime story before he’s snoozing away. O’Byrne endows her anthropomorphic bunny with particularly expressive ears, adds several distressed but cute creatures, and depicts The Dark as a nebulous, unthreatening patch of blackness with no feature except a hand reaching into the tin for an offered cookie. The idea isn’t exactly original, but the strong connections between the narrative and the pictures give this a leg up over Anthony Pearson and Bonnie Leick’s similarly themed Baby Bear Eats the Night (2012), while Jöns Mellgren’s Elsa and the Night (2014) shares the conceit (and even the tin) but goes in a different, deeper emotional direction.
Similarly resistant young children will be lulled by a subtly soothing tone that even the outsized pop-up doesn’t disturb. (Pop-up/picture book. 3-5)