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In a Blue Room
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In a Blue Room

5.0 3
by Jim Averbeck, Tricia Tusa (Illustrator)

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Alice is wide, wide awake. Mama brings flowers, tea, a quilt, even lullaby bells to help her sleep. But none of these things are blue, and Alice can sleep only in a blue room. Yet when the light goes out, a bit of magic is stirred up. Pale blue moonlight swirls into her bedroom window. Then the night swirls out, around the moon and into the universe, leaving Alice


Alice is wide, wide awake. Mama brings flowers, tea, a quilt, even lullaby bells to help her sleep. But none of these things are blue, and Alice can sleep only in a blue room. Yet when the light goes out, a bit of magic is stirred up. Pale blue moonlight swirls into her bedroom window. Then the night swirls out, around the moon and into the universe, leaving Alice fast alseep in a most celestial blue room.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

If bedtime books were dances, this one would be a pas de deux: prose and pictures partner each other effortlessly all the way to the last page. At first, Alice doesn't look like a candidate for bed; she's in her nightgown, but she has leapt into midair, her blue blanket a billowing parachute, her room a pleasant mayhem of dolls and crayons. "A 'Blue is my favorite,'A " Alice announces as Mama, robed and slippered, carries in a vase of flowers. "A 'And those-aren't-blue,'" Alice adds, punctuating each word, the reader senses, with a bounce (by now, only the bottom of Alice's nightgown and her stockinged feet are visible as the rest of her jumps out of view). "A 'Ah... but smell,'A " Mama counters. Mama offers Alice more ritual things: tea to taste ("A 'Blue tea?' says Alice, 'There's no such thing'A "), a quilt to feel, bells to listen to. They're not blue, either, Alice protests, but she's fading; in each successive painting she looks sleepier, her toys floppier, her bed snugglier. The rhythm of the words soothes: "In a blue room, orange tea cools in a brown cup"; "In a blue room, a quilt of red and green feels warm and cozy."

These references to a blue room are a little odd: Alice's walls are yellow. "A 'The moon... Mama,'A " Alice murmurs, and Mama whispers, "A 'Here it comes.'A " Click! The lamp goes off, and Alice's room is transformed, bathed in the blue light of a full moon. Tusa's (Mrs. Spitzer's Garden) pictures, on single pages before, now expand to fill both. Alice's room is blue, and so are the flowers, the tea, the quilt, the bells, all just as Alice said. The stars and planets on Alice's blue blanket travel out the window and up into the sky; everythingmerges. Tusa appears to have breathed in first-time author Averbeck's text and then breathed it out as pictures. The final appearance of the blue room, which sounded so impossible at first, will feel to children like a promise kept. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature
AGERANGE: Ages 3 to 7.

Long past bedtime Alice is wide-awake. First her mother brings her flowers, but Alice notes that she can only sleep in a blue room. The flowers are not blue but Alice smells them. Her mother offers a cup of tea, not blue, but Alice sips it. An extra quilt is not blue either but it is cozy and Alice snuggles. By the time her mother brings bells to chime in the breeze, Alice is yawning. Then her mother turns out the light. The pale light of the moon turns everything blue. Alice can finally sleep in her blue room. This sentimental bit of whimsy on the perennial bedtime problem is loosely visualized with active black ink lines, gouache, and watercolors. Alice's room has her childish possessions scattered on floor, furniture, and shelves. The curtain blows in the window from the wind as her mother woos her to sleep. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz

School Library Journal

PreS- This dreamy bedtime book doesn't have a single unnecessary word. Alice bounces on her bed, wide awake and making demands. She will only sleep in a room in which everything is blue. Mama brings in flowers, a cup of tea, and an extra quilt. Each time, the child queries the not-blueness, but Mama whispers "Smell." "Taste." "Touch." And when the light finally clicks off, the moonlight streams in, and in its light, everything is blue, and Alice is...fast asleep. Tusa's illustrations, done in ink, watercolor, and gouache, show a child progressing from Pippi Longstocking-like energy, through acceptance, drowsiness, and finally sleep. Their soft colors and simple lines are perfectly suited to the simplicity of the language. This lovely book works well as a one-on-one bedtime read, but it would also be the perfect final selection for a pajama storytime.-Marian Drabkin, formerly at Richmond Public Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews
It's time for Alice to go to sleep-it's past bedtime, in fact-but as Alice explains, blue is her favorite color, and she can only sleep in a blue room. To help her relax, Mama first brings flowers. As Alice points out, they aren't blue. "Ah . . . but smell," Mama says. Alice breathes in the white and purple flowers and begins to settle down. Next Mama brings tea. It's not blue, but with Mama's patient encouragement, Alice tries it and rubs her eyes. A soft green quilt has Alice snuggling in, and yellow bells tinkle in the evening air. Now it's time for the moon to arrive, and as Mama turns off the light, it bathes the room in blue. The quilt is blue now, as are the bells, the moon, sleeping Alice and, at last, the room. A comforting story of mother and child, this will make an excellent bedtime read and an inventive introduction to color as well. Adrift in sleepy hues, the engaging watercolor-and-ink illustrations are the perfect touch. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.40(d)
410L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

JIM AVERBECK makes his picture-book debut with In a Blue Room. He lives in San Francisco, California. TRICIA TUSA has illustrated more than fifty books for children, including her own Camilla's New Hairdo. She lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.

TRICIA TUSA has written and illustrated many wonderful picture books, including In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck; Mrs. Spitzer's Garden by Edith Pattou; The Magic Hat by Mem Fox; The End of the Beginning by Avi; and her own Follow Me.

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In a Blue Room 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lillian_B More than 1 year ago
"In a Blue Room" is a sweet bedtime-themed story. Tricia Tusa's soothing illustrations work in perfect tandem with Jim Averbeck's wonderful, simple text. In fact the text might even be the most wonderful part of the book. It's the tale of Alice who cannot fall asleep unless her room is blue. Mama tries everything, bringing her flowers, calming tea and lullaby bells. In the end the solution to the blue room trouble is so logical as to be magic. The second part of the book reminds me a little of Margaret Wise Brown's "Goodnight Moon". It's the perfect gift for a baby shower no matter the gender of the expected newcomer.
gbe More than 1 year ago
energetic girl with a caring mother...restful & alive!