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Sunday, April 04, 2021

Voyage to Bedtime! Off to See the Sea by Nikki Grimes


"BATHTIME," I WHISPER IN YOUR EAR."

GAMETIME! thinks the toddler child, scuttling to hide beside the sofa where dad grins and points a thumb to Mom, on the trail of the little escapee, who stifles his giggles, hand over mouth, as he begins the nightly game on the way to bedtime. Little bedtime deniers are common and mom, already in her comfy clothes, is up for the game!

And Mama knows just the right metaphor to entice the tot.

"COME!" I COO.

"BATHTIME IS FULL OF MAGIC!"

The flowing faucet becomes a tropical waterfall that fills the lake and the child slip-slides into the soap-bubbly waters.

"MONSTERS AHEAD!"

A rubber ducky rises from the deeps, but he bobs away as the child's feet kick up giant waves to deflect the yellow monster and they...

"...CRASH ON THE SHORE... ... THE FLOOR!"

Big shiny bubbles bounce into the air, reflecting their faces, as the tot dives into the water's depths. But Mama knows what he seeks and quickly, before he can make his move, she...

"...PULLS THE PLUG!"

With blubs and glubs the waters of the world swirl away as if by more bathtime magic, and despite the squeals, as Dad flies the toddler up, up, and away into the towel, there is that welcome sign of parental victory for yet another night.

"YOU... YAWN."

Parents know that bedtime can be a battle royale and/or a little bit of heaven, as Nikki Grimes' poetic story, Off to See the Sea (Soucebooks/Jabberwocky Books, 2021), reveals with great charm and skillful storytelling. The award-winning author is joined by artist Elizabeth Zenon, whose artful mixed-media illustrations will make even veteran parents remember and reminisce over the memories of a warm, sweet-smelling toddler's yawns and snuggles. Bathtime is magic, a magical transition toward sleep in a child's day, made memorable in this gentle story for parents and young children. Says Booklist, "This ebullient account of a common childhood experience bursts with love and universal appeal."

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