STARRED REVIEW
December 02, 2014

The bedtime struggle is real

By Jory John, illustrated by Benji Davies

Stuffed pink rabbit in hand, Bear is completely and utterly ready for bed. But his coffee-fueled neighbor, Duck, is ready to play. He rings the doorbells, climbs a ladder to Bear’s window, even breaks out the emergency key—all the while ignoring Bear’s increasingly grumpy, terse protestations. Will Duck get his way, or will Bear lose his temper?

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Stuffed pink rabbit in hand, Bear is completely and utterly ready for bed. But his coffee-fueled neighbor, Duck, is ready to play. He rings the doorbells, climbs a ladder to Bear’s window, even breaks out the emergency key—all the while ignoring Bear’s increasingly grumpy, terse protestations. Will Duck get his way, or will Bear lose his temper?

Author Jory John (All My Friends Are Dead) easily handles the dry humor that has taken over children’s literature in recent years. Duck’s energetic appeals will have even the littlest pajama-clad readers laughing, as he jumps from smoothie-machine mess to rock-and-roll attire. Illustrator Benji Davies perfectly captures bleary-eyed Bear’s frustration. His bold images stand out against calm, simple backgrounds, focusing attention on Bear and Duck’s expressions and personalities.

While bedtime-procrastination stories abound, John’s tale offers plenty for readers of all ages. Kids will laugh at large, grumpy Bear’s pink-flowered bathrobe. Parents (who have seen these delay tactics in action) will commiserate with Bear’s lack of sleep and under-eye circles. Both young and old will anticipate—and appreciate—the ending’s twist. The story is just long enough to fill the “just one more book!” request, but not so overly involved that it disrupts the bedtime flow. The pages are colorful and interesting, but not so chaotic that it couldn’t be a last story before lights out.

Most kids go through a favorite-book phase; break the boredom with Bear and Duck. From kid-friendly dialogue to sleepy-time-friendly illustrations, Goodnight Already! will be an oft-requested book. P.S.: Tell little readers to keep an eye on Bear’s rabbit.

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Goodnight Already!

Goodnight Already!

By Jory John, illustrated by Benji Davies
HarperCollins
ISBN 9780062286208

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