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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Goodnight Everyone, written and illustrated by Chris Haughton. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2016. $22.00 ages 3 and up

"the hares

are sleepy 

they sigh

AH ...........


I have quickly become a huge fan of Chris Haughton's work. He has his finger on the pulse of little ones and shows it clearly in this captivating bedtime story. What is it with me and bedtime stories, lately? It must be the anticipation I am feeling for Sicily's arrival in three weeks. She is just past her second birthday, and she LOVES books! I can't wait to share many with her, and with her wee sister.

The engaging palette of colors is so lovely and slumber-inducing. The orange-red of the sunset and the encroaching deep blues of the night draw us into this tale of forest animals as they prepare for a time of rest. Of the four tiny mice, one is already sleeping, as are two of the three hares, while the deer and bears can barely keep their eyes from shutting. They are all very sleepy!

Young readers will find cut pages drawing them from the light into the darkness that is enveloping the animals. Each cut page grows progressively bigger as the animals do. From mice, to hares, to deer, to bears ... wait, the bear cub is showing no interest in sleep.

"well, I'm not sleepy."
says Little Bear
"wanna play?" asks Little Bear
"we're too tired,"
say the mice.
we're too
tired, too,"
say the hares"

The pages grow darker, there is no one to play with, and soon Little Bear is also fading, and stretching, and yawning. Great Big Bear knows exactly what is needed.

Chris Haughton creates a world of welcome darkness and peaceful slumber in digital images that beg readers to return to them again and again. There is much to see as he builds his forest world, and takes his readers from waning light to deep night. The front endpapers offer a look at the Southern Hemisphere and its constellations, while the back turns to the Northern Hemisphere and its constellations which make Little Bear and Great Bear front and center. I will be on the lookout for them tonight!

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