From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 1–A sleepy sleepy boy is fast asleep in his sleepy sleepy bed along with everything else in his sleepy sleepy house until music comes drifting in, in ever louder tones. Then the child and his surroundings gradually come alive, dance, and shake to the beat, and drift back to sleep as the notes and instruments depart. The brief repetitive text takes a backseat to the whimsical watercolor-and-ink cartoon illustrations. Indeed, a couple of spreads have no words at all. Dark background washes engulf the personified objects as they settle into slumber. With the arrival of notes that become instrument-playing characters, the washes begin to lighten with the slowly awakening household, until the cavorting furnishings are suffused with brilliant oranges and yellows. This transformation is only temporary, however, for with the exodus of the music makers, dusty blues, greens, and grays wrap everyone in sleep once again. Before youngsters themselves nod off, there is much for them to see and enjoy here–dancing dishes that eventually slump over, picture-framed characters with outrageous beards and mustaches, vibrating tables and chairs, a bookcase containing Shulevitz titles, trees and house leaning over in sleep, and more. This is a bedtime bonanza.–Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
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*Starred Review* PreS. Shulevitz's latest winning picture book evokes the lulling rhythms of Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon (1947) but adds a thrilling animation to a quiet bedtime scene. In a quiet room, "in a sleepy sleepy house [where] everything is sleepy sleepy," a boy slumbers deeply until music drifts through a window, rousing him (and all the surrounding objects) into joyful midnight revelry. Then the music floats away, and the room settles back into peaceful dreamtime. As in Dawn (1974) and Snow (1998), Shulevitz celebrates how the simplest things can be miraculously transformed. Unlike the objects in Goodnight Moon, everything in this room is alive with a discernable, expressive face: the dishes, the tables and chairs, the bookcase (filled with Shulevitz's books). The objects all snooze languidly, and then explode into action as the equally animated musical notes, with wild smiles on their round heads, curl and dance through the window. The ink-and-watercolor scenes create an energetic tension between the deep, blue-gray sleepy-time scenes and the rainbow-streaked views of vibrant musical activity. The spare, hypnotically repetitive text and progressively deepening colors will pull preschoolers into the shadowy edges of sleep along with the story's bewildered boy, and they'll feel satisfied to see their suspicions confirmed: the living and the inanimate worlds aren't so separate after all. Gillian Engberg
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