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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Goodnight Already! Written by Jory John and illustrated by Benji Davies. Harper, 2015. $21.99 ages 3 and up

"Wanna play cards?"
"Watch a movie?"
"Start a band?"
"Make smoothies?"
"Talk all night?"

I will read this repeatedly to anyone who wants to listen! I love characters with personality and an authentic voice. Duck and Bear are neighbors and they couldn't be more different.

We can tell Bear is drowsy from the get-go. He sits in a cozy chair, yawning and holding his stuffed bunny. Turn the page; two neighboring houses, one evidently dissimilar to the other. The smaller one
is lit by a bright yellow light which casts a warm glow outward. The bigger house next door shows a soft blue light.

Turn to the tale's first page ... Duck, bathed in bright light, is drinking coffee and reading a book called 101 Ways to Stay Awake. On the opposing side Bear, bleary-eyed and holding the railing that leads upstairs, is complaining about being exhausted. Duck is raring to go and wondering what Bear might be doing. Bear is all tucked up and settling in for a long and glorious rest. 

Duck's pounding on the door and impatient calls bring Bear downstairs in his robe, worried that there is something wrong. Totally untrue.

"Hey! I'm bored!
Want to hang out?"

Of course, he does not. Duck is not to be deterred. From one suggestion to the next, he is impervious to Bear's negative reactions. Off he goes, and Bear settles back in bed ... not for long! Obviously, the two are not on the same page when it comes to sleep. Three interruptions and Bear is totally befuddled.

Is there a compromise?

Not only is it a wondrous read aloud story for rapt listeners, Benji Davies captures attention with his brilliant compositions. He varies the way the pages look and gives his readers two expressive characters who will have them giggling throughout the reading. And, the twist at the end is just perfect!

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