Power Down--Please! Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! by Todd Tarpley
THREE LITTLE ROBOTS, TIME FOR BED.
TIME TO DIM YOUR INFRARED.
A sleepy boy, already in his stripey PJs, leads his three robots toward their beds. But first, there's the nighttime ritual to get through. They brush their rotors, shower, and, ahem! take care of toileting, making a mechanical mess along the way. The toothpaste extrudes all over the place, the sink overflows, the toilet paper unfurls all over the tiles, and the shower splashes over the rim of the tub.
The boy is clearly weary, but he piggy-backs one little robot, with the other two seemingly sleepy cyborgs behind him, toward his room, where he beds down the three.
QUIET AT LAST, NOT A PEEP.
Or not. One robot turns on the light, and they all have a complaint! One misses his coil. Another holds out his cup for a drink of oil. The last claims his sensor hurts.
The tired boy tugs his toolbox out from under his bed and takes care of their complaints, and they all settle down, or so it seems. But then...
One robot waves his Saturn night light. The other two complain about a too-loose belt and a too-tight bolt. The boy sleepwalks through the various fixes. And then they three trundle back to their triple-decker steel bunk beds. The yawning boy clambers back under his blanket.
Peace at last?
Apparently, all the robots' circuits are still firing, their gears grinding. The boy delivers an ultimatum!
NO MORE BLIPPING!
They're adjusted, given oil, offered nightlights and a coil. What else would a robot want?
A BEDTIME STORY.
It's a cyber goodnight at last, in Todd Tarpley's Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! (Little, Brown and Company, 2015), a rhyming story in which Tarpley turns the tables on the kid, giving weary parents a chance to see the bedtime shoe on the other foot. But the robots get the last whirr and wink, because it's the boy who falls asleep first, as the whole cast of characters snuggle down for a bit of co-sleeping in the boy's bed.
Caldecott-Honor artist John Rocco (for Blizzard) struts his stuff in ink-line, watercolor, and digital illustrations that are long on wit, satire, and charm. His boy plays a little grownup, tired and with his patience wearing thin as his electronic charges pull out all the usual sleep-avoiding tricks. Visual humor abounds, a robot on the toilet wound in toilet paper, and a mouse along as observer, soaping his armpits in the bathtime spillage, trudging off to the bedroom in his little fuzzy bathrobe, trying to sleep through the whining and beeping, and at last sacking out on the boys' bed with the rest of the guys. Humor, wordplay, and a clever comic consciousness gives these sleepytime resisters quite a cachet for the story circle set.