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Bedtime for Sweet Creatures
Bedtime for Sweet Creatures
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Bedtime for Sweet Creatures
illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2020
ISBN: 978-1492638322

From the book:

"No! No! No!
You beat the word like a drum
the minute I say
"Come, sweet creature.
It's bedtime."

About the book:

It's bedtime.  But Mommy's little girl is not sleepy.

She growls like a bear, she questions like an owl, she tosses her mane like a lion. How can Mommy tuck her in now?

Mommy needs to wrangle her sweet creature in this endearing and imagination-fueled journey to bedtime, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon.


A patient mother with a healthy sense of whimsy helps prepare her headstrong toddler for bed. ... Zunon's art takes this book to the next level: Her portrayals of the animals mentioned in the text are colorful and full of intriguing patterns and shapes. Additionally, the expressions on the faces of the mother, child, and animals speak volumes, portraying the emotions of each. ... An adventurous treat of a bedtime story. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

“No! No! No!” begins Grimes’s rhythmic, playful romp through a restless child’s bedtime routine. As the toddler resists sleep, a mother patiently creates an imaginary menagerie via vivid similes—“Your eyes swell, wide as owls... You coil beneath the quilt, silent as a snake”—transforming a bedroom into a forest full of friendly creatures. Zunon’s expressive, heavily textured collage is interspersed with abstract animals (evocative of Senufo textile art), clearly delineating imagined from real. Despite the mother’s best efforts at trumpeting away any monsters and checking under the bed before reading the child a story, the child appears at the parents’ bedside in the late night hours, pleading, “Mommy, can I sleep with you?” As she opens the covers for the tot to join, the parade of gentle beasts joins, helping to lull the now “very sleepy child” into slumber—and turning the visually pleasing adventure into a loving, effective lullaby. (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

In this exceptionally well-done title, readers follow a young child on a before-bed adventure. The book opens with a toddler shouting “No! No! No!” It continues, “You beat the word like a drum the minute I say, ‘Come, sweet creature. It’s bedtime.’” The gorgeous illustrations are from the child’s perspective. For example, when the child answers their mother, the lyrical text says their eyes get big as an owl’s. On the opposite page and part of the adjacent page are three large yellow-and-orange owls. Other items encountered on this bedtime routine are a large green, blue, and yellow bear; a forest scene; a snake; a giant pink-and-orange lion in bed; a blue-and-green fawn; a green-and-pink squirrel; and more. The words and the art are perfectly matched: when getting tucked in, the child, who is beside the large imaginary colorful lion, tells her mom to check underneath the bed for something vicious. Mom says, “I kneel on the forest floor, find something wild and ferocious.” Underneath the bed is a small gray-and-white kitty. The text reads, “Meow.” The illustrations and execution of this title give it a fresh approach to a subject that resonates with families raising small children. (School Library Journal, starred review)

Grimes and Zunon capture the time-for-bed dance with verve, imagination and empathy in this tale of a not-sleepy child and her creative appeals to stay up longer. The affectionate mom evokes a range of animals to help her cause: “Your eyes swell, wide as owls. … ‘Who? Who?’ you ask as if you didn’t know,” she says. On each lovely page, Zunon collages realistic images of the family alongside fanciful, mythical-looking animals. With its refreshing ending — the girl ends up in her parents’ bed, as so many children do — this one has the feel of an all-time great bedtime picture book. (Maria Russo, The New York Times)

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