In the Night Garden

 
(i)

 

Little girls stretch their imaginations before bedtime.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Celebrates big imaginations; girls set some stereotypes aside and pretend to be big wild animals, not kittens or ponies.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a sweet bedtime book that features girls with big imaginations.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Three little girls romp in a dusky evening pretending to be wild animals before it's time for bed. One girl is a bear, one is a whale, and one is a sled dog. The lush illustrations show them howling, swimming, and running as themselves and as the animals they wish they were. When it's bedtime, they bring their animal selves inside, too, and go through their bedtime routine still in character until they finally cuddle up together to sleep.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It's nice to see girl-characters with rich imaginations pretending to be more than princesses or soft kittens. These girls romp as powerful creatures -- baring sharp white teeth, pulling sleds and literally making waves. "The bear growls a warning. The whale dives deep. The dog sniffs the air." There's no simpering here! Both boys and girls will appreciate the girls' big imaginations.

This is a simple story with little text but it's a book to which every kid can relate, especially those preschoolers who spend their days being dogs, firefighters, and other favorite heroes. The deep, swirling pictures effectively convey the girls' dream world and help captivate readers to bring them into the story. The dark-purple colors on each page convey the seriousness of the kids' imaginings. The book ends cozily with familiar bedtime routines and a picture of the three little girls tucked into bed by loving but unseen adults, making it a comforting read for even the biggest dreamers. Sure to be a bedtime favorite.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the kinds of animals the girls choose to be. Why might they find them appealing? They can discuss other animals it might be fun to be before bedtime? Maybe that night the kids can choose an animal to be for their own bedtime routines!

Book details

Author:Barbara Joosse
Illustrator:Elizabeth Sayles
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Henry Holt & Company, Inc.
Publication date:September 2, 2008
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7
Read aloud:4
Read alone:8

This review of In the Night Garden was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass