Bedtime for Sweet Creatures
Nikki Grimes gives a new slant to the perennial bedtime battles in Bedtime for Sweet Creatures. A headstrong toddler definitely doesn’t want to go to bed, but Mom is clever enough to outsmart her by showing her daughter all the incredible creatures she can be, from lion to snake to squirrel to kitty. The art by Elizabeth Zunon is bright and playful, bringing all the animals to life in bright colors and patterns.
Finally, the girl is tucked into bed. “A koala, you hang onto me for one last kiss. ‘I love you, Mommy!’ ‘I love you more.’” That would be the expected end, but the story goes on. “Later, you bound out of bed, sly wolf on the hunt for water. ‘Hurry,’ I whisper from the kitchen door. ‘Last glass!’” the girl promises. Will the child finally sleep? No, instead she tries the tried and true potty break. “You lope back to bed before Bear can miss you. ‘Bathroom,’ you say out aloud and hop up once again. ‘Good night!’ I call.”
Will that be the end, the girl back in bed with her bear, bladder empty, thirst quenched? A tired parent could hope so, but the book continues. Maybe the mom wasn’t so clever after all. Maybe her daughter has outsmarted her. “Silence falls over the house. Dad and I slip into our bed. Half asleep, we hear one small toddler whisper, ‘Mommy? Can I sleep with you?’” This being a children’s book, the mom doesn’t yell and send the child scampering back. But she doesn’t tuck the girl back into her own bed, either. Instead, “I sigh and pull back the blanket ‘Come on,” I say, and in crawl Owl, Bear, Snake, Kitty, Fawn, Squirrel, Koala, Tiger, Wolf . . . and one very sleepy child.”
For parents who don’t want to share their bed with a toddler, this might not be the right bedtime book. For the co-sleeping crowd, it will provide the perfect cuddle. And for preschool teachers, it’s a fun naptime read.