Parents' Guide to

Bedtime for Sweet Creatures

By Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 3+

Lovely, relatable story of toddler delaying going to sleep.

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This delightful story captivates readers with familiar bedtime struggles and absolutely lovely art. Author Nikki Grimes' words often verge on the poetic, with gems like, "Your bookshelf is noisy with stories," and "you yawn and grind your teeth like a squirrel ready to nibble the night." Young readers of Bedtime for Sweet Creatures will recognize themselves in the toddler's delay tactics and susceptibility to parental tricks (like using Bear to get the tot in bed), and parents will relate to the mom's endless summoning of patience. Illustrator Elizabeth Zunon's colorfully collaged backgrounds and patterned, abstract imaginary animals make this book shine; it's worth owning just for the art. Expressive faces capture the drama of bedtime, and the animals come off as sweet and wily as the child.

One quibble is that the dad doesn't help with (or take on) bedtime. In fact, he in relaxes on the couch with a book while mom tackles the challenge, an image which may reinforce traditional gender roles in parenting for young children. Despite this critique, it’s a truly wonderful story with great art that readers of all ages are likely to enjoy.

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