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Before I Go to Sleep

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On a summer evening, when it's just too hot to sleep, a child amuses himself by imagining all the delightfully funny animals he would like to be. There's a tap-dancing giraffe, a musical chimpanzee, a mountain goat in silly socks ... the fun goes on and on until the boy - and young listeners - are finally ready for sleep. But before they drift off, children will enjoy looking for a special character who appears in each of the illustrations.

Maryjane Begin's lustrous, brilliantly...

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Overview

On a summer evening, when it's just too hot to sleep, a child amuses himself by imagining all the delightfully funny animals he would like to be. There's a tap-dancing giraffe, a musical chimpanzee, a mountain goat in silly socks ... the fun goes on and on until the boy - and young listeners - are finally ready for sleep. But before they drift off, children will enjoy looking for a special character who appears in each of the illustrations.

Maryjane Begin's lustrous, brilliantly detailed illustrations illuminate the imaginative night-dreams in Thomas Hood's classic nineteenth-century poem. Warm and playful, this reissue of a modern classic is just the book for bedtime snuggling.

Before falling asleep, a young boy imagines the things he would do if he were different kinds of animals.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For children who find that the summer hours between bedtime and darkness are hard to pass, this book offers welcome relief. Fantasies that lead eventually to the Land of Nod run rampant in the head of a boy who must go to bed before nightfall. Dreams of being an industrious cat (mending a roof with the aid of mice and cardinals), a regal dog bedecked with crown and ermine-trimmed cape and a leaping mountain goat--complete with purple-and-pink-striped socks--pass through the restless child's mind. In style and content, Hood's 19th-century verse stands the test of time remarkably well, indicating that some of the problems children face are ageless. Begin-Callanan's splendidly detailed, deliciously colored paintings are filled with comical touches such as tourist penguins, with sardines hanging from the pockets of their ``jams,'' lining up to buy ice cubes from a polar bear. By setting the pictures in progressive stages of darkness (similar to Clement Hurd's technique in Goodnight, Moon ), the artist gradually draws the curtain on consciousness until the last page shows the darkened room of the peacefully sleeping boy. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Betty Hicks
In Thomas Hood's classic nineteenth century poem, a child who is having trouble falling asleep imagines the animals he would like to be. Maryjane Begin's bold and colorful illustrations depict the poem's fanciful creatures while adding inventive ideas and humor of her own. For example, her interpretation of a cat that's "much too busy round the house" has a tool-belted feline shingling a roof with the help of mice. Children will enjoy finding the boy's dog in each picture, as well as noticing that the striped fabric of his pajamas appears on every animal, from the polar bear's visor to the fox's dapper ascot. The rhythmic verse coupled with lots of whimsical detail, make this a soothing, but involving, bedtime read-aloud. 1999 (orig.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2Luminous acrylic illustrations bring this 19th-century poem to life. In the summer when I go to bed/The sun still streaming overhead/My bed becomes so small and hot/With sheets and pillow in a knot,/And then I lie and try to see/The things Id really like to be. In each of the following verses, a boy imagines that he is a different animal, and that creature, as well as the narrators dog, appears gloriously realized in the accompanying full-page painting. The text is pleasant enough, but it is Begins inventive menagerie that lifts this book above the standard illustrated bedtime verse. As the boy muses about being a giraffe (Id do a tap dance in the street/with little bells upon my feet), the picture shows a smiling giraffe, clad in a striped waistcoat and a bow tie, tap dancing through a rainy city scene. Or maybe next a mountain goat/With shaggy whiskers at my throat shows that animal springing across a gorge, clothed in old-fashioned mountaineering garb and carrying the dog in a backpack. A visual dream come true.Kathleen Whalin, Greenwich Country Day School, CT Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1- This poem by the popular 19th-century English poet has surely stood the test of time. Hood's rhyming, first-person, four-line stanzas tell of a boy imagining ten animals he'd like to be as he nods off to sleep. They come alive , with Begin-Callanan's exquisite illustrations. Her interpretations, in full color, are clever and creative. Each double-page spread has a small, complementary adornment above the stanza and a full-page, humorous portrait of the animals described. The illustrator has a furry forte as evidenced here and in The Porcupine Mouse (Morrow, 1988), which makes a cameo appearance in this book. In each unusual scene, the animals are presented so richly and so pleasantly that readers will want to stroke each of them. The boy's pet dog is seen in each vignette, as is a glimpse of the boy's striped pajamas on whatever animal he has become. There is a polar bear in a (striped) visor selling ``icebergs by the pound;'' a tall giraffe, sporting a (striped) jacket, tap dancing in the street with little bells upon his feet. The closing, darkened-bedroom scene reveals the souvenirs of the boy's reverie as he sleeps--his own stuffed animals. While the idea is not new, this fresh and lively execution of it will inspire many a pleasant dream. --Marianne Pilla, Upper Dublin Public Library, Dresher, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688124243
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Series: Sandcastle Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 1 - 5 Years

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