As gentle a rocking rock-a-bye as anyone’s likely to find this side of the moon.
An electric guitar–playing mama sways her little one to sleep. As her toddler daughter puts her rocking horse, dollies, trains and blocks to bed, her mother urges the child to, “Say good night to the pictures / That hang on the wall,” along with everything in the room. Then it’s time for a bedtime story, and this dozy-eyed girl is down for the night. In the midst of their loving routine, the bedroom is transformed from everyday playroom to a place of sleepy-time magic. Though it attempts a rockabilly sensibility, there is little jumping or jiving to be had in this quiet little tale. The most rocking allusion may be an Elvis poster or perhaps a portrait displaying Little Boy Blue in seemingly blue suede shoes. In this way, Bates peppers the pages with sly allusions to classic nursery-rhyme characters, sometimes getting a bit too oblique for the intended readership.
Though it sometimes threatens to veer too close to saccharine, the pairing of words and text in this book instead makes it a real, if not rocking, bedtime treat. (Picture book. 2-4)