Lullaby-Me! Nighty-Night, Cooper by Laura Numeroff
COOPER CLIMBED OUT OF HIS MOTHER'S WARM POUCH.
"I CAN'T SLEEP," HE SAID. "PLEASE, CAN YOU SING? THEN I'LL GO TO MY BED."
Day is done. Gone the sun. The warm bath is finished, the fuzzy, footed jammies are buttoned up, and the cozy coverlet is turned down. It's that moment between the time when all the activities of the day are done and the very second sleep finally comes. For most of history parents have filled this time with bedtime stories and lullabies to take little ones through that transition, and Cooper's mama realizes that getting to that moment is going to take some winding down for her restless little joey. She decides to wing it with her own version of "Rock-a-Bye, Baby:"
"ROCK-A-BYE BABY, HE'LL SEE THE COWS...."
Cooper is now wide awake. This is a good game. He asks for a rewrite of one about mice.
To the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell," Mama makes up a song in which warm milk puts the mouse to sleep. But the power of suggestion doesn't work on Cooper.
Gamely, Mama improvises on "Twinkle, Twinkle." Cooper's eyes are still wide open. With prompts from her not-sleepy son, she sings new sleep-themed lyrics to "Mary Had A Little Lamb," and even "Jingle Bells."
"ARE YOU GETTING SLEEPY?" MAMA ASKS.
Mama's impromptu lullabies are working--on her. Her eyelids are heavy, and she stretches out on the couch. Then Cooper has an idea. He knows a song he can sing for Mama, his own version of "Lullaby and Good Night:"
"CLOSE YOUR EYES.
ALL IS RIGHT.
NOW I'LL KISS YOU
Laura Numeroff's brand-new bedtime tale, Nighty-Night, Cooper (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013), illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, has these two notable picture book pros at the top of their game. The obvious rapport between Mama and Cooper portrays this battle-of-the-bedtime as a loving, shared ritual, with some fun for both, as Cooper gets to reverse roles and put Mama to bed, tucking his blanket around her and giving her a goodnight kiss. Munsinger's soft but insightful illustrations--her subtle expressions and good-hearted body language--all portrayed in the space of a cozy blue couch, capture perfectly that moment when the child begins to take over his or her own bedtime. Nighty-Night, Cooper is one of the best bedtime stories of the year, one which parent and child can both enjoy.