The Magic Bed

The Magic Bed

by John Burningham
     
 

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When Georgie outgrows his baby bed, he chooses a big second-hand bed that the thrift shop owner tells him is magic. “The lady who had it before said you could travel in it.” Georgie’s granny teases him about his magic bed. But every night, Georgie has a new adventure with tigers or gnomes or pirates in faraway places. Some nights he would swim with… See more details below

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Overview

When Georgie outgrows his baby bed, he chooses a big second-hand bed that the thrift shop owner tells him is magic. “The lady who had it before said you could travel in it.” Georgie’s granny teases him about his magic bed. But every night, Georgie has a new adventure with tigers or gnomes or pirates in faraway places. Some nights he would swim with dolphins, which is why his bed is sometimes wet in the morning. And when his granny replaces the old relic with a spanking-new bed, Georgie has his revenge.

John Burningham’s playful handling of a child’s imagination and the special relationship a child has with his or her bed makes this a good-night story that children will beg to hear again and again.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Burningham's (Hey! Get Off Our Train) many fans may be disappointed with this underdone caper. When Georgie outgrows his little-boy bed, his father takes him to an antique store, where the shopkeeper sells them a bed that he says is "magic," and adds, "you could travel in it." Faint writing on the headboard offers instructions to "say your prayers" and then say a word that is no longer entirely legible, yet begins with "m" and ends in "y." Georgie has no luck guessing the magic word the first night, but on the second he gets it right and soars over the city in his bed, transported to a field where gnomes and fairies read him a bedtime story. On other flights he visits the jungle and helps a lost tiger find its parents, discovers a pirate treasure chest in a cave, gives a ride to some tired geese, etc. The story loses its sparkle after the lad's last journey; his family goes off on holiday and when they return the boy's granny has bought him a new bed and has taken "that nasty old bed" to the dump, where Georgie retrieves it. Burningham's illustrations range from fanciful and luminous to sketchy. The ending, in which readers are told, "If you lie very still in your bed and find your magic word, perhaps you could travel far away like Georgie," seems a weak bridge to the fantasy elements here. Ages 3-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
When it's time for Georgie to move to a big bed, he and Frank find an old one that is supposed to be magic. At first Georgie can't find the magic word, but when he does he finds himself traveling on the bed at night above the city toward wonderful magical places. He reads to gnomes and fairies, returns a lost tiger to his grateful parents, finds a treasure and escapes from pirates, swims with dolphins. But when he vacations with his family while his granny stays home, he returns to find she has replaced the magic bed she never liked. Rushing to the dump to reclaim it, he climbs on and is again off to adventure. Burningham ends his tale of magic with the possibility that the reader can also find the magic word and travel, if only in imagination. The tale is told without flourishes or poetic pretension. The colored drawings create the magic, making Georgie's nocturnal adventures seem a reasonable extension of his otherwise normal life. Burningham depicts character with a minimum of lines, in the barest of settings. With subtle use of space he leaves lots of room for readers to engage with the action, inviting us to make his fantasy ours. 2003, Alfred A. Knopf/Random House Children's Books,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz <%ISBN%>0375824235
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-K-In the tradition of Come Away from the Water, Shirley (Crowell, 1977; o.p.), Burningham offers another imaginative, child-oriented story. It is time for Georgie to get a new bed, so his grandma sends him off to the shopping center with Frank. Much to her dismay, they come home with an old bed from a used furniture store that is supposed to be magic. After trying out many possible magic words, Georgie discovers that it can take him on many great adventures. However, while he is on vacation, his granny buys a new bed and sends the old one to the dump, where Georgie rescues it and flies it off. "Now, if you lie very still- and find your magic word, perhaps you could travel far away like Georgie." With simple, word-perfect prose, Burningham captures a child's imagination. The flights of fancy are every youngster's dream, and the practicality of the grandmother is an exact replication of the traditional long-suffering adult. Burningham's trademark ink and mixed-media illustrations are quite simple, yet capture each moment of the boy's real life and his nocturnal travels perfectly. The artist's use of colored backgrounds for the adventures, as well as his mastery of suspense-building page turns, reflects the mood of the story well and will entertain and engage readers. The large trim size and economical text will work well for storytimes as well as for one-on-one enjoyment. Expect lots of magic words recited before bed.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Georgie outgrows his crib and goes shopping for a bigger bed. He chooses an old one from a thrift shop and finds a special message carved into it that says if he guesses the magic word he'll travel far. He finally guesses it, though it's never revealed to the reader. From then on, Georgie enjoys nightly adventures in his bed, saving a baby tiger and escaping mean pirates, until, to his dismay, his family gets rid of the old bed and buys him a brand-new one. By day, three adults are pictured with Georgie-his granny, a man named Frank, and an unnamed woman. Frank and the woman seem to be his guardians, but it's unclear if they're his parents. Burningham's whimsical illustrations are a perfect match for his experienced, well-paced prose. Children will enjoy the fantasy, while adults might detect between the lines a feeling of loss and a desire to escape. However, one is never sure where it's coming from. (Picture book. 3-7)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375924231
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
09/09/2003
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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