Monday, January 14, 2019

Bedtime Resistance Revisited: Sleepy, The Bedtime Buddy by Drew Daywalt

Roderick hated going to bed.

Roderick has apparently polished his bedtime resistance routine for years. In addition to the old standbys--a drink of water and another story, he can keep his parents going for quite a while coming up with reasons why he CANNOT have a pony--including the irrefutable...

... Ponies won't use a litter box.

It's time for some serious parental intervention--in the form of a "special" plush pal.

"His name is Sleepy," said his mother.

"He's your goodnight buddy," said his father.

Roderick's parents put him to bed with Sleepy. Sleepy's spooky stare is hard to take, and Roderick tries stashing him out of sight--on the bookshelf, under his pillow. But he can still FEEL that weird gaze. He sticks Sleepy in the closet.

"Wait!" said a quiet little voice. "Don't leave me alone in here."

Roderick can't believe Sleepy is actually telling him he's scared.

"Of what?" Roderick asked. "You were staring at me all freaky looking

"Because you were staring at me all freaky looking," said Sleepy.

Roderick soon finds out that Sleepy knows all the tricks. He politely asks for a glass of water. Then he has to go to the bathroom "because of all the water," but he's scared to go by himself. Then he remembers that he forgot to brush his teeth. He promises to go to sleep after one story. And then he asks for another. The story scares him, so he needs a snack to settle his nerves.

"It's the middle of the night!" Roderick shouted.

Of course, after a sandwich Sleepy has to brush his teeth again. And then he's worried about a witch in the closet. Finally, he wants to talk about the meaning of life. Roderick is both weary and angry.

"I can't sleep because you're mad at me!" whines Sleepy.

"You're the worst bedtime buddy EV-er!"

Roderick the bedtime resistor has met his match, in spades, in Drew Daywalt's laugh-out-loud latest, Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy (Disney Hyperion, 2018). Sleepy's tactics exhaust Roderick in a turn-about-is-fair-play tale with a comic comeuppance. Daywalt's offbeat humor works well in this story, which somehow ends with sympathy for the parents, Roderick, and even his roommate Sleepy. Parents who are running out of patience with young sleep avoiders will get both revenge and a mutual laugh with their kids, thanks to the absolutely comical illustrations of artist Scott Campbell, whose portrayal of Roderick's eyes tell the whole story. Cannily, Campbell even tucks a clever little sight gag in on the colophon page--a new toy, Wakey, The Good Morning Buddy Alarm Clock.

Drew Daywalt is, of course, the blockbusting best-selling author of The Day the Crayons Quit and its sequels (read reviews here).

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