Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It's bedtime, but British author/artist Cooper's (Little Monster Did It!) curly-haired young hero insists that he is going to stay up all night. Driving his toy car, he eludes his mother and speeds away to a world of make-believe, where everything in his home has become many times larger than life. He soon discovers that it's bedtime for his now-giant toys as well: even the little car eventually slows to a stop and goes to sleep. Finding himself "awake and alone, with the sleeping world around him," the boy is retrieved by his mother, who hugs him and leads him home to bed. Cooper's gauzy watercolor illustrations are bathed in the glow of twilight and moonlight, and she exhibits a visual wit that keeps her pictures from lapsing into self-conscious prettiness (for example, on their way home, mother and son walk through a giant bathroom, complete with looming toilet). The text evokes the rhythms of a lullaby, gradually slowing in tempo until the boy falls asleep. Ideal for reading aloud right before the lights go out. Ages 3-7. (June)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
This highly imaginative adventure tale takes a strong-willed child on a voyage through the house to avoid the dreaded bedtime. The darker it grows, the harder it becomes to draft the toys into his drawn-out struggle against the inevitable. Burnished artwork on every page catches the shadows as they grow longer and the battle weary eyes as they grow heavier.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2As she did in The Bear under the Stairs (Dial, 1993), Cooper takes a gentle, wry look at a child's imagination. At bedtime, a young boy takes a fantasy trip in his little red car into a land filled with his stuffed animals and toysall of which are larger than life. In the well-patterned, repetitive text, the child asks each toy to play with him; each replies in its own way that it's not the right time for playing: "Nighttime is for resting, not racing," says the train. As the sun goes down, the youngster journeys through puffy clouds, past bedlike mounds, and under a moon hung by a string, and finally stands "awake and alone, with the sleeping world around him." But not to worry, for here comes his mother to scoop him up, carry him through a land of oversized bathroom fixtures and a giant tube of toothpaste, and put him in his warm, cozy bed. With their careful, creative details (the zipper in a toy tiger's stomach, wooden soldiers parading with toothbrushes, the toy train's cars filled with sleepy nursery-rhyme characters), the dusky golden and purple watercolors complement and enhance the text. Like Denys Cazet's I'm Not Sleepy (Orchard, 1992) and Martin Waddell's Can't You Sleep Little Bear? (Candlewick, 1992), this charming story will soon become a favorite part of the bedtime ritual.Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY
After a promising start, this bedtime book from Cooper (Little Monster Did It!, 1996, etc.) runs out of gas. A little boy is tooling around the house in his toy car when his mother calls him to bed. Unhappy with that prospect, he motors the car right into a fantasy land to look for nighttime revellers. It's late; everyone he encounters is sleepy. "Nighttime is for snoring, not roaring," says the tiger, and some soldiers concur in their own manner. The train is too tired; so are the musicians and the moon. Even his toy car nods off. Pushing it homeward, he runs into his mother, "someone who was ever so sleepy, but couldn't go to bed before the boy did." A lullaby book isn't necessarily supposed to be full of zip, but the characters possess such little life that the story seems inordinately drawn out. As always, Cooper's artwork can't be faulted: The sumptuous, imaginative watercolors are replete with dreamy intent.