A white mother and young child sing a loving counting rhyme at bedtime.
The narrator mother savors the ritual she shares with her little one. The rhyme itself is a charming, escalating expression of love, and when it reaches 10, it directs the players to “go back and start at one, again.” But in the midst of blowing kisses, putting on pajamas, and all the other bedtime activities, the mother focuses on her own distress at a coming separation and how much she will miss her little one. There is no indication regarding the nature of the separation, whether it is a frequent event or the first time they will be apart. As the child snuggles down to sleep, Tugwood employs overblown syntax with expressions like “crickets sound their mating calls,” and “dreams begin to sprout, then bloom,” which are cloying and way above the understanding of the intended audience. McGraw’s softly hued, slightly fuzzy illustrations add dimension to the tale. When mother’s face is seen, she has a gentle, loving smile for her child, hiding the feelings she expresses in the verse. The little one is seen as wholly joyous and exuberant, loving every moment of the bedtime experiences. Young readers might like the counting rhyme, but they will be confused by the tone and language.
Odd and disturbing. (Picture book. 4-7)