Bedtime for Sweet Creatures
Author: Nikki Grimes
Illustrations: Elizabeth Zunon
Sourcebooks Young Readers
Another book in the bedtime-for-little-kids genre! Another good book I should add. A very patient and imaginative mother (why is it always a mom?) [Editor’s Note: Because books about fathers are rarely published.] goads her fiercely independent daughter to bed. The scene is familiar to anyone who has tried to coax an unwilling child of their own to bed.
Aside: why is it that they put on their best behavior for anyone else tasked with the otherwise herculean task of putting them down?
Chants of No! No! No! Inevitable frowns and scowls. Deeply seeded convictions of how NOT tired they are. Multiple trips for water and to the bathroom. All the while mom gently cajoling, translating each of the child’s actions into corresponding animal action – tossing of mane and roaring to order mom to check for monsters, grinding her teeth like a squirrel, “ready to nibble the night.” And my favorite, hanging on like a koala for that last hug and kiss, because that reminds me so much of my own dissenting sleepers. Lights out hugs are the best!
Grimes words are wildly evocative, and deeply vivid, but it is Zunon’s illustrations that make this book decadent. The use of vivid colors and shapes, and the juxtaposition of these wild creatures in an urban home is beautifully contextual. Because we all know the capability of our young humans to become wild.
Perhaps the sweetest part of this book is the surprise ending. After all the mother’s efforts the little girl ends up begging her parents to let her sleep in their bed. And although she sighs, mom brings to their bed, the owl, the bear, the snake, the kitty, the fawn, the squirrel, the koala, the tiger, the wolf, and “one very sleepy child.”
Lights Out All!
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
My thanks to Pajama Press for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.
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