Getting to Goodnight! Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep by Barney Saltzberg
IT WAS LATE AND IT WAS QUIET,
AND IN THE BAMBOO GROVE EVERYONE WAS SLEEPING...
EVERYONE EXCEPT CHENGDU.
Some kids refuse to go to sleep. That's not Chengdu's problem, but his parents aren't appreciative of his bedtime compliance. They might be, IF they were awake, which they're not.
No one in the family is awake except little Chengdu. He wants to go to sleep, but his eyes are wide open.
Perhaps a change in position will help. He tries hanging upside by all fours, like a sloth. It doesn't work. He tries hanging head down like a bat. No luck.
No position seems to work. Finally he climbs up the tree, looking for a more comfortable limb. But when he finds it, someone else has beat him to it--his brother Yuan.
Suddenly Chengdu's eyes want to close. He climbs on top of his brother Yuan... and falls asleep instantly.
But now Yuan is wide awake.
Despite its little insomniac panda, Barry Saltzberg's latest, Chengdu Could Not, Would Not, Fall Asleep (Hyperion Books, 2014) is a fine inducement to drifting off to dreamland for young sleep resisters. The illustrations, done on a textured paper in pencil, watercolor, with digital touches, use just a few colors--white, gray, black, and a soft but pleasing green, giving the dark scene a moonlit glow that is both pleasing and restful to the eye. Salzberg's engaging page design includes narrow pages increasing in size as Chendu ascends the tree and show off the little panda's sleepy time struggles perfectly, with just the touch of sibling humor at the end. For contrast, pair this one with Jonathan Allen's wide-awake little owl who protests I'm Not Sleepy! (See my review here.)