Clement, Jean, and Alan Alexander (a small rabbit, miniature elephant, and a pint-sized bear) enjoy a proper pajama party—complete with chicken dances, funny faces, balloon bounces, midnight snacks, stargazing, and lullabies.
Maggie, a little girl herself, acts as a chaperone, nudging them into bed when their eyes get heavy and finally leading them in an evening giving of thanks. Her lyrical recounting of the friends' night together, strung together with sweet S sounds and snug images, sends readers slipping and sliding into sleep themselves. Some parents might feel tempted to sing such quaint rhymes: “Cozy pajamas, / a happy surprise, / night birds singing / sweet lullabies.…” This picture book's satisfyingly soft illustrations and diminutive dimensions (7 inches by 8 1/2 inches) feel just right for its plush language and darling characters and content. Handmade paper absorbs pen, ink, and watercolor artwork: islands of images, nebulous in shape but rich in saturation and suggestive linework. As so often with McDonnell, the details charm even the most cynical viewers: the wee animals chow down to a chorus of “nom”s; they sleepwalk their ways to bed uttering little “Z”s. Reproduced on unusually and comfortably thick card stock, the illustrations offer tactile as well as visual joy.
Small listeners will nestle deep under their covers feeling thankful for tender books that make bedtime a pleasure. (Picture book. 2-5)