Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bedtime Blues: No Go Sleep! by Kate and Jules Feiffer

"Please go to sleep!" a mother croons over the crib.

"NO GO SLEEP!" says the baby.

A mussed and fussed tot takes a contrarian look at this bedtime business.

Instead of becoming all cuddly and dozy (as parents hope), the end of the day finds this baby weary but with his will still strong, his angry face as wrinkled as his footie pajamas, as he kicks his feet in rebellion  and repeats his mantra: "No Go Sleep!!!"

The parents remain calm and their words soothing as they call on the cosmos for backup.
". .  .  the stars said, "We are twinkling and sprinkling
sweet dreams down to you."

A passing car's beep calls for sleep, the trees whisper to him with soft rustles, his Teddy is ready to snooze, and the front door gets into the act, closing for the night.

Even the moon promises to stay up right outside his window and be Baby's very own night light. Baby has but one thing to say:


Baby is having none of this pathetic fallacy stuff. The dog may be snoring in his bed, but he's NOT having any of it. His face gets red,  his arms and legs thrash angrily. The spirit is strong, but the flesh is weak, however, as in spite of himself, his eyelids betray him and nature takes its course at last, in Kate Feiffer's No Go Sleep! (Paula Wiseman/Simon &; Schuster, 2012). Kate Feiffer's incisive but lyrical narration pits the cranky, reluctant sleeper against the soothing, patient parents, while her noted artist father Jules Feiffer's wavy line and watery blue-green palette evoke both baby's resistant mood and the on-coming twilight scene in which sleep has its way at last.

Other joint efforts for this father-daughter duo include My Side of the Car, Which Puppy? (Paula Wiseman Books), and Henry the Dog with No Tail (Paula Wiseman Books).

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