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JAMMY DANCE by Rebecca Janni


by Rebecca Janni & illustrated by Tracy Dockray

Age Range: 1 - 4

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-374-33680-6
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Going to bed doesn’t rank high on most children’s lists of favorite activities, and Janni and Dockray’s attempt to transform the nighttime routine into a rollicking good time is something of a snooze.

Aided by their parents, a brother and sister end their bath and go through the steps of drying off, putting on their jammies, brushing hair and teeth and so on, until they go to sleep. The text is characterized by forced, rhyming verse that will likely leave parents stumbling to read it aloud—for example, “Don’t you know, takes two to untangle— / Mom’ll dance from any angle,” and “Dad is callin’, ‘Little folks-a. / Time to do the p.j. polka!’ ” Equally undistinguished art awkwardly eschews rules of anatomic proportionality and fails to settle in a particular style: Pictures are sketchy and loose in some elements and more controlled and representational in others, resulting in uneven execution. As the book ends, the siblings share the same bed even though the text has them “[s]nuggled close inside [their] beds.” This final misstep provokes confusion in an already flawed overall package.

With the glut of sleepy-time stories out there, this offering does not bring much new to the bedside table. (Picture book. 1-4)