A junior Walter Mitty actually looks forward to bedtime, when he embarks on fanciful adventures that only he is privy to. "On Monday night, when everyone else was asleep," writes Whatley (illustrator of Diary of a Wombat ) as his hero smiles slyly at the reader, "Clinton... on his own... all by himself... wrestled a dragon named Gordon!" On six subsequent nights, the puppylike Gordon is joined by an ever-growing cast of fantastic archetypes and creatures (a pair of giants, a tutu-wearing triceratops), nearly all of them corresponding to toys, books or objects seen in an early view of Clinton's room. Each night, too, the escapades grow in improbability (Sunday's fun culminates in everyone flying around the world on plates of spaghetti). While this concept has been seen before, Whatley executes it well. An intriguing illustrator who combines considerable painterly talents with a flair for goofy comedy, he is an ace at character studies: the giants have huge rubbery faces, while Clinton has a impish, slightly neurotic mug worthy of Nathan Lane. The action is contained by prosceniumlike staging and a white backdrop, so it never devolves into a frenetic free-for-all. Theatrical in the classic sense of the word, this book salutes the power of imagination and the pleasures of the very private joke. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Clinton Gregory, a winsome young lad with a vivid imagination, has a different secret adventure every night of the week. Author Bruce Whatley lets us experience just those from last week. On Monday, Clinton wrestled an enormous dragon that is really his friend. Tuesday was the night he played catch with a magic sea horse. Wednesday was a giants’ dinner party. By Thursday, his friends joined him to train a triceratops and wash a tiger, and Friday was the night for dancing in the moonlight. By Sunday, they do “nothing” but still have several wild adventures while planning the next week’s secrets. Wide double-page spreads are needed to house the scenes of the irresistibly charming characters in action. Our young lad’s room is jammed with items referring to those that appear in his later zany adventures. The triceratops in a pink tutu walks a tightrope held by two goofy-looking giants; the whole crew floats around each sitting on a plate of spaghetti. Who can imagine what his secret adventures will be in upcoming weeks? Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
PreS- Clinton Gregory's nights are filled with zany adventures. His companions in the fun-filled romps include a dragon named Gordon, a magic sea horse, two giants, one triceratops, a tiger with spots, a toad, and a ship full of pirates. Each evening brings another secret adventure. "On Friday night, Clinton Gregory and his friends danced under the moonlight." Everything is big in Whatley's colorful and fantastical spreads, which include details sure to appeal to children. The closing spread, suffused with midnight blue, finds a peaceful, sleeping Clinton snug beneath a blanket and surrounded by several of his adventurous stuffed animal pals. An entertaining addition to help wind down the day.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
In tribute to unfettered imaginations everywhere, Whatley introduces a smiling lad with an inner life so filled with adventure that even a day of "nothing much at all" brings handmade paper hats for a ship full of pirates, a rocket voyage to the Moon and a trip around the world on plates of spaghetti. Everywhere he goes, Clinton travels with a large entourage that includes a dragon named Gordon, a pair of ruddy-nosed giants, a seahorse, a triceratops in a pink tutu and others-all rendered with massive, finely detailed solidity in the eye-filling art, and all (except the spaghetti) visible, in variously reduced forms, scattered about his room in the opening spread. Children whose own rooms are self-contained universes will feel perfectly at home in Clinton's; for storytime flights, pair this with, Simon Puttock's Earth to Stella! (2006), one of Harold's forays with his purple crayon. (Picture book. 6-8)