From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3–Marco the parrot is too busy for bedtime. Cartoon illustrations in watercolor, gouache, and ink show his human mother from the waist down and a talking alarm clock urging him away from his playthings. Thought bubbles depict his dreams of painting, scientific discoveries, skateboarding, and bowling. The images attempt to show that Marco has too many plans and no time for sleeping. However, cluttered with lines, objects, and color, the pages lack a focal point. Likewise, the story lacks development in plot or character. Adult fans of Chast's New Yorker cartoons may appreciate this loose artistic style, but most children will be better satisfied by Anna Dewdney's Llama, Llama Red Pajama (Viking, 2005), Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Little Hoot (Chronicle, 2008), Barney Saltzberg's Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for Bed? (Candlewick, 2005), or Peggy Rathmann's 10 Minutes Till Bedtime (Putnam, 1998).Julie R. Ranelli, Queen Anne's County Free Library, Stevensville, MD
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Marco’s an interesting bird. Red-feathered, beady-eyed, baseball-capped, and surrounded by a million toys, chemistry sets, musical instruments, and board games, he has far too much to do to follow his mother’s bedtime edict. Just think of all the better ways to spend one’s time! So begin the wild fantasies, each one piggybacking on the other until all sense of time is joyously lost. Marco dreams about painting his masterpiece, which leads to plans for discovering new fish (like the Cube-headed La-Di-Dah), which leads to the invention of underwater paint, which leads to other inventions like invisibility gum, which leads to . . . well, you get the idea. Soon his genius becomes too much, and Marco freaks: Couldn’t he just have five teeny-tiny, eentsy-weentsy, bitsy-witsy, small, little, miniature, microscopic, shrimpy, measly MINUTES?!? The irreverent asides of the doodly watercolor-and-gouache illustrations betray Chast’s New Yorker cartooning background, and to swell effect. Kids will recognize the disgruntled bristle of Marco’s plumage and agree: life is unfair! Parents, meanwhile, will tell them to go to bed anyway. Preschool-Grade 2. --Daniel Kraus