Novelist Lively's storytelling prowess "shines through" said PW, in this fanciful tale of a girl and her large, exhausting "family" of stuffed toys. "A diverting change from quieter bedtime stories." Ages 3-up. (Apr.)
- Mary Clayton Rowen
This is a tale about a little girl and her family of several stuffed animals and a doll. A promise to go right to sleep precipitates each animal taking her on a short adventure, until exhausted they all fall asleep. The story will undoubtedly inspire other imaginative adventures in young listeners.
School Library Journal
PreS-K-A bedtime tale for wired kids and parents who don't insist upon restful good-night stories. A little girl who plays the stereotypical role of frazzled mommy to her dolls and stuffed animals arranges them around her in bed, admonishing them to settle down and sleep tight. The toys have no intention of going to sleep, though, and one by one they take the girl on adventures. The frog takes her to his pond, where they dive and jump. The lion takes her to a place where she can roar and shout as loudly as she likes. The cat takes her to hunt for exciting surprises in the huge, nighttime world. The doll takes her to a party where they dance ``...till they drop.'' After each journey, the travelers end up safely back in bed. Finally, the child promises that if the toys are good, there will be more adventures tomorrow. Gon produced the illustrations by photographing and enlarging small drawings, then painting directly on the developed film. The results are flat, boldly colored cartoons cluttered with an excess of heavy black line. The pictures have the appearance of being executed with great energy, thereby accurately extending the action-filled tale. While there is a nice repetitive pattern here and the text has a pleasant rhythm for reading aloud, there is no real story. Acceptable fare for large collections.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Greenwich, CT
Beloved memoirist (A House Unlocked), children's book author (The Ghost of Thomas Kempe), and Booker Prize winner Penelope Lively is perhaps best known for smart, literate thrillers that look to the past for keys to understanding, like 2003's The Photograph. "I'm not an historian," Lively told Britain's The Observer, "but I can get interested -- obsessively interested -- with any aspect of the past."
Good To Know
In her interview with Barnes & Noble.com, Lively shared some fun facts about herself:
"I came late to writing -- I was in my late 30s before I wrote anything. The years before that had been busy with small children, and I seem to have fallen into writing almost by accident. Since then, I have never stopped -- books for children to begin with, then a period writing for both adults and children -- short stories also -- then for adults only when the children's books, sadly, left me."
"It has been a busy 30 years, but because writing is a solitary activity and I like the company of others, I have also always had other involvements -- with writers' organizations such as Britain's Society of Authors, with PEN, with the Royal Society of Literature, and, for six years, as a member of the Board of the British Library (the opposite number of the Library of Congress) which I regarded as a great privilege -- what could be more important than the national archive?"
"I have always been an avid user of libraries; like any writer, much of my inspiration comes from life as it is lived -- what you see and hear and experience, but my novels have sprung from some abiding interest -- the operation of memory, the effects of choice and contingency, the conflicting nature of evidence -- and these concerns are fueled by reading: serendipitous and eclectic reading."
"I am first and foremost a reader myself. I don't think I could write if I wasn't constantly reading. I both wind and unwind by reading -- stimulus and relaxation both. I used to love tramping the landscape, and gardening, but arthritis rules out both of those, so I do both vicariously through books. I live in the city now, but feel out of place -- I have always before lived most of the time in the country: I miss wide skies, weather, seasons."
"Never mind, there are compensations, and London is a very different place from the pinched and bomb-shattered place to which I came as a schoolgirl in 1945 -- now it is multicultural, polyglot, vibrant, unpredictable, in a state of constant change but with that bedrock of permanence that an old place always has. I like to escape from time to time -- mainly to West Somerset, where we have a family cottage and I can admire my daughter's garden -- she has the gardening gene in a big way and is far more skilled than I ever was -- bird-watch, walk a bit, talk to people I've known for decades, and see the night sky crackling with the stars that the city blots out."