Really fine text (and how do you make a bedtime book, a theme so common in children’s books, still seem fresh and new?) and imaginative, compelling illustrations make this picture a complete package. Zagarenski, illustrator of Red Sings from the Treetops, which was one of my favorites, has just the right touch here — a bit of magical realism, with the pictures becoming more dreamlike as the girl falls asleep. I love how the parents don’t argue about her not being sleepy, but just say okay, and give her a bedtime task (putting pj’s on, brushing teeth). I love the patterns of the illustrations (in the wallpaper, the clothing), the stuffed tiger among the animals she sleeps with, the allusions to familiar and not so familiar animals sleeping patterns; the dog is “curled up in a ball on the couch, where he’s not supposed to be” and later she “right where she was supposed to be.” Most of the illustrations have an angular quality, yet the dog and the tiger seem wonderfully soft and textured. Much to appreciate here!
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