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Thursday Three: Nighttime

Posted by Pam on November 12, 2009 at 10:44 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
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Nighttime is the right time for reading, and here are three, new, Cybils-nominated books to pick up for bedtime.

Night Lights
by Susan Gal
Night LightsTo be able to appreciate its charm, think of this book as a wordless picture book that happens to contain a little bit of text. The story is entirely in the pictures, with the words pointing out the various lights seen at night - like headlight, firelight, and flashlight. The story is of a girl and her mother biking home in the city, having a cookout and birthday cake in the backyard, and then the girl going to bed. Simple enough. But allow lingering over the illustrations to see the way the lantern light shines differently on the faces than the firelight. Notice the marshmallows that go outside in the lantern light, are forgotten in the lightning storm, and attract surprise visitors in the spotlight. Delight in the use of real fabric, elaborate patterns, and children's drawings to add depth to the drawings. Even the endpapers have a little story. Wonderful, gentle book for toddlers and preschoolers.

Scaredy Squirrel at Night
by Melanie Watt
Scaredy Squirrel at NightScaredy Squirrel is here in his fourth book, and just as charming as ever. Now he can't sleep because he is afraid of bad dreams in the form of bats, dragons, and polka-dot monsters. He stays up, but experiences many negative side effects of not sleeping. He faces the problem with preparations that involve cupcakes, banana peels, and a fire extinguisher. Will his plan allow him to get a good night sleep? Of course, but the fun is in how. Funny, silly, adorable, and clever the book quietly contains a message about the importance of a good night sleep along with the series theme of maybe not needing to worry so much. Delightful book that will be enjoyed by the preschool set and up.

I Need My Monster
by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam
I Need My MonsterWhen Gabe is ready to go to sleep, he needs his monster under the bed. Unfortunately, his monster took off on vacation, leaving Gabe to interview possible candidates. But each one is rejected for not having loud breathing or sharp claws or a slimy tail. It's only Gabe's monster who is scary enough - in a good way, understand - to keep him from getting out of bed at night. This is a great take on the traditional monster-under-the-bed story where kids conquer their fears of this beast. Here the story embraces the concept in a humorous and clever way. The illustrations are amazing in bringing the story to life, but the monsters may be a bit on the creepy side for younger readers. Know your kid. It's perfect for the kindergarten to second grade set, who want a bedtime picture book with a little bite. That wasn't a monster joke. Okay, it was.


Terry Doherty writes...

You're the second person to recommend Night Lights. It looks wonderfully creative. We love Sleep Tight, Little Mouse for sweet; Noises at Night as a story to help kids get over fears; and Monster Trap as a fun story that turns the tables on those "things" that come out at night.

Pam writes...

Terry, at my first look, Night LIghts didn't grab me. But I realized that I was taking it too fast, and it's a book that needs you to slow down. It's there that I found its quiet value.

I didn't even mention this, but I also like that it's about just a girl and her mom (and dog). Maybe it's a single mom or a dad in the military, but I liked seeing that represented.

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