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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Scritch Scratch Scraww Plop! Written and illustrated by Kitty Crowther. Translated from the French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick. Enchanted Lion Books, Publishers Group Canada. 2015. $23.50 ages 3 and up

"Mama, I want a hug!"
"And a kiss."
"Another hug."
"And a kiss."

"All right, my little
green bundle ...
It's time for sleep. I'll
leave  the light on in the

We learn immediately that Jeremy rails at the coming of the night. His parents are patient and help him through all of the nightly rituals before he snuggles down with his dad for a bedtime story. Jeremy loves being so close to his father as the night closes in and 'lights out' approaches. Always reassuring, Dad tucks him in, wishes him a good night, and calls mama in for a final hug, and a kiss, and a hug, and another kiss. Not feeling 'snug as a little mouse', Jeremy has disquieting thoughts:

"I'm all alone in my room," thinks Jeremy.
"All alone in my bed.
All alone in my heart!"

It's a sad place to be for the little frightened frog; and, it isn't long until the quiet is disturbed by a 'scritch scratch scraww plop' that sends him scurrying to his parents' bedroom. He awakens Daddy, and they return to Jeremy's room, with calming words. Not much later Jeremy is back at his father's side of the bed, and returned once more to his own bed. His worries do not abate; soon, he is on his mother's side of the bed and welcomed into her open arms. Jeremy's comfort in the space between his parents has the opposite effect on his father. Dad retreats to his son's bed, and sleeps peacefully ... until he hears that very same sound.

He wakens Jeremy and takes him outside to investigate. Watching from a lily pad, the two make a comforting discovery.

"Scritch scratch! A mole digs a hole to her home.
Scraww! A bird calls into the night.
Plop! A fish leaps out of the water
and dives back in."

Together and settled on their lily pad, the two are finally able to drift off to sleep.

The illustrations hold great appeal, and are sure to elicit a snicker or two. Done is a palette of greens and greys, with an occasional series of spot pictures to move the action along, children who share this book will have need to discuss what is happening. The bonus will be in upping their comfort to talk about some of their own nighttime fears.

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