The sibling pair that last made Baby Cakes (2017) now walk themselves through a bedtime routine.
They pick up toys, bathe, brush their teeth, put on their “jammies,” cuddle up “to hear a favorite story,” exchange kisses, and go to sleep. As in the prior book, the pictures’ focus is on the children, both brown-skinned and with straight, black hair. The brown-skinned adult hands that place the toddler in the bath and then lift the tot back out make it clear that the children are being lovingly supervised, but the visual centering of the children allows for fluid reading of the text. “Time for bed. Pick up toys and put them away,” could be as easily interpreted as the older child’s guidance as instructions from an unseen adult. Similarly, there is no adult in the frame as the children “hear” the story, so readers may well see a newly literate older sibling reading aloud to a younger one—an empowering possibility. The titular refrain, “Where’s Bunny?” is introduced before the bath and then suspended till after. While this is logical (Bunny is a soft toy), it also adds unevenness to what should be a predictable textual element. A “bedtime checklist” on the front endpapers delineates all the steps, and a “clean teeth checklist” on the rear endpapers focuses on dental hygiene.
A nicely child-centered iteration on a common theme. (Picture book. 2-5)