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Children's LiteratureEach night when the little girl falls asleep, animals are all around her—stuffed animals of every kind and animal appliques on each square of the quilt tucked under her chin. "Cuddly creatures, from A to Z, tucked into my animal alphabed." But this night as she checks her animals, there is one she does not see. Now she has to keep sleep away to find the animal that has gone astray. The search is long and confusing with detours for a picnic and tea and time out for naps; it is hard to keep track of just what is going on. With so many words for a young reader to struggle through, they will most likely get lost before the missing animal is found. Tongue-twisting alliteration, an overly-elaborate vocabulary, forced rhymes and awkward punctuation make the book difficult to read aloud. The charming watercolor illustrations support each page of text, but they cannot make up for an alphabet bedtime tale that seems to have lost its way. 2005, Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press, Ages 3 to 6.
—Anita Barnes Lowen