Sunday, October 02, 2016

Gently into A Very Good Night!: It's Not Time for Sleeping by Lisa Graff

When I've munched and crunched my last three carrots (except for the one I fed to Jasper), Mom takes my plate.

It's been a good day," she says.

"It is a good day," I tell her.

Because the day's not finished yet.

And it is not time for sleeping.

As a rosy sunset lights the kitchen window, a boy helps his dad with the dishes, reminding him that it is not quite dark yet.

Bathtime fun follows, with the boy splashing his dog just a little and admiring his wrinkly toes as Mom zips his footy dinosaur jammies up. He gives Jasper the dog a playful dino ROAR! Dad remarks that he looks very cozy.

"Not too cozy," I tell him.

As Dad holds him up by his ankles as to brush his teeth upside down, he points out the boy's sleepy yawn. The boy insists that he's not tired.

It is not time for sleeping.

It is time for a last fluffy belly-rubbing tussle with Jasper. It is time for Mom to tuck him in. It is time for Dad to sit back in the bedroom rocker and share a really good bedtime story as the boy snuggled warmly under his blanket.

"That was a nice one," Dad says. as Mom turns off the lights.

But it is not yet time for sleeping. There is one more thing Mom and Dad must not forget. And they don't.

It's all in good time, in Lisa Graff's lovely It Is Not Time for Sleeping (Houghton Mifflin Clarion, 2016), celebrating a bedtime with no tears, tantrums, or nighttime naughtiness, as the gentle ritual of sleepy time ends a good day with a very good night. Not all bedtimes go so sweetly, we know, but Graff's well-paced story shows that sometimes a child's bedtime dallying is an understandable delay in letting go of a good day.

Lauren Castillo's artwork is equally touching, simple and strong blackline drawings in a setting which, like the hour, changes gradually from warm light to comforting shadows in the boy's room where blue wallpaper with stars and moons light the way to sleep. A full moon shining through the boy's round window brings the story round full circle, in a charming and tender look at how to say goodnight.

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