The Boy Who Wouldn't Go to Bed

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This boy is not ready to go to sleep, so he revs up his little red car and drives away into a magical, softly-muted land filled with larger-than-life toys. But all the toys are too tired to play, and when the toy musicians play a lullaby, it puts the boy's car to sleep. How will he get home now? Luckily, someone is still awake, and she's on her way to pick the boy up and tuck...
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Overview

This boy is not ready to go to sleep, so he revs up his little red car and drives away into a magical, softly-muted land filled with larger-than-life toys. But all the toys are too tired to play, and when the toy musicians play a lullaby, it puts the boy's car to sleep. How will he get home now? Luckily, someone is still awake, and she's on her way to pick the boy up and tuck him (finally!) into bed. This humorous, clever story is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

"The imaginary blends seamlessly with the real." -Booklist, starred review

Awards:

( Winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal

A boy who does not want to go to bed has a series of imaginary encounters with a tiger, soldiers, the moon, and others, all of whom convince him to change his mind.

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Editorial Reviews

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
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
Kirkus Reviews
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803722538
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/1997
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.14 (w) x 10.12 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Helen M. Cooper is associate professor of English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Helen M. Cooper is associate professor of English at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2005

    The lovliest bedtime book!

    This is one of our all time favorite books. The illustrations are wonderful with lots of hidden gems, the text is lyrical and soothing. I love the line where the mother carries the boy's car home because 'she was a very strong mother.' We've read this hundreds of times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2001

    Wonderful Bedtime Reading for the Young Child

    My children, ages 5, 3, and 1 all love this bedtime book. Every time I read it to them, we realize another twist in the story and how it really unfolds. Great for the imagination!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2001

    One of the best

    Our 2-year old WON'T go to bed without reading this book. The art is amazing, the story sweet. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

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