Early Bird! Good Morning to ME! by Lita Judge
"GOOD MORNING TO ME!" SQUEALED BEATRIX.
Beatrix the parrot is an early riser, a very early riser. She's wide awake! She knows she's supposed to use her quiet, inside voice while others are still sleeping, but she just can't help herself!
Her patient but drowsy friend Mouse has no desire to salute the rising sun, but he bestirs himself to try to keep Beatrix from waking up the whole household. But this bird can't stop talking.
"I LOVE MOUSE! TODAY I WILL BE A GOOD BIRDIE!
OH, LOOK! THERE'S KITTY. I LOVE KITTY!"
Kitty is a grouchy Siamese who clearly does NOT love Beatrix or enthusiastic early awakenings. With eyes still half closed, her hackles are rising and her claws are already flexing.
But Beatrix is oblivious. Scatting the Jaws theme, she stalks Kitty.
"DAH-DUH, DAH-DUH, DAH-DUH....."
Beatrix moves in, and Kitty grabs with her clawed front feet. Suddenly the tables are turned.
"uh... MOUSE!!! (HELP!)
Mouse grabs a fork and gives Kitty a poke, and Beatrix escapes away to her perch. Kitty sits below, thumping her tail angrily on the floor. But to Beatrix it's all a good game of tag.
Suddenly she remembers that she hasn't greeted Goldfish yet. Enthusiastically, she sticks her head under the water into Goldfish's bowl. Bad move.
Beatrix falls in. Blub! It's crowded in there! Mouse has to run and wake Gracie the Bassett hound to pull Beatrix out of the goldfish bowl. It's a rough wake-up for Gracie, but, unfazed, Beatrix flaps her wet wings with glee.
"NOW WHAT CAN WE PLAY?"
Beatrix is not a good birdie, but her joie de vive is infectious in Lita Judge's giggle-fest-filled Good Morning to Me! (Atheneum Books, 2015). Judge's animal illustrations are joyfully comic, set in both framed vignettes on the page or spreading ebulliently across double-page spreads as full of life as her vibrant feathered heroine. This is a book that would be hilarious if you couldn't read a word of the text, with Beatrix and her buddies' facial expressions telling the whole story. As Publishers Weekly adds in their starred review, "... a lovely book... Judge uses aqueous, shimmering blues for her environments so that the furs, feathers, and marvelous expressions of her cast pop."
This is terrific picture book fun even if you, too, are not an early bird, one which will also resonate with night-owl parents who have a nest full of early risers. It's a book worthy of pairing with that classic tale of sleep disturbed, Audrey and Don Wood's The Napping House.