Monday, May 18, 2015

Everybody Sleeps (But Not Fred)

Booklist May 1, 2015 (Online)
Preschool-Kindergarten. Everybody sleeps. It’s a common bedtime-book premise. In this send-up, there’s an exception to the rule: Fred. Don’t let his nighttime routine of bathing and toothbrushing fool you. His toy boat (SS Insomnia) grows large! Fred packs for his adventures in the snoozy jungle, where he jumps; and on the dozy farm, where he shouts, blowing the barn apart. No one can sleep when Fred is around. The art tells its own cumulative tale. An exhausted character from each setting carries over into the next (many of them foreshadowed by the toys in Fred’s room). They appear against backdrops of white space, allowing youngsters to pore over their expressive faces as well as other details in the art. What tuckers out Fred? The rhyming verse introduces a poetry book “so boring / children soon are prone and snoring.” With Fred finally asleep, the tale concludes with a warning: “Close book softly or Fred will wake up . . .,” prompting screams. A bedtime story sure to inspire dreams of imaginative antics.

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