{book} late night reading?


b cover bedtime is canceledBedtime Is Canceled by Cece Meng, Illus. Aurelie Neyret

Clarion Books, 2012. ages 4-8

The note read: Bedtime is canceled. Maggie thought of it. Her brother wrote it. A journalist read it. This was big news. He reported it. Before they knew it, the whole city discovered that bedtime had officially been canceled, so no one went to sleep! (publisher’s copy)

Here is a picture book that will resonate with most children and their parents–Natalya still groans at the mention of bedtime! and we still voice the reminder with a steely edge. Natalya was and is clever in her push to extend her waking hours, but she never wrote a note to try and pass off as some sort of edict from on high. Although, like the parents in Cece Meng’s story, we would have recognized the handwriting and practiced some common sense.

b bedtime is canceled b

The children throw the note away, but it drifts out of the window and along to land in the “out” pile of a late-at-work reporter. The announcement makes the headline of the paper and true to the speed of technology, it is called, emailed, status updated, tweeted, texted…And everyone believed it.  If there is a moral to be imparted in Bedtime Is Canceled it is just because it is in print…

As word spreads of the cancellation, adults appear more or less out of their minds in a series of pretty silly sequences. Seems that many of the adults can only operate as adults if they get their sleep, otherwise they kinda act like bratty and irresponsible children. Others become just plain goofy, their brains are not firing, and then there is the falling asleep in your plate maneuver. I don’t know if the younger children should or will recognize all the signs and make the connections to their own behavior sans sleep. But the world becomes chaotic enough for another child-written announcement to appear. This time it is hand-delivered to the press. Bedtime is reinstated and there is much rejoicing.

b bedtime is canceled

This likely would not have been a bedtime read, but one of those for the day after–only because Natalya could have drawn out the conversation well into the night, exploring all the good reasons and bad for why bedtime should or should not be canceled. One scene the book did not render? Sleepless parents getting scary-cranky and short with their darling off-spring the next day–not something that ever smiling little pixie of a girl would have found all that amusing… and maybe that is a lesson in there for the adult reader.

I was most charmed by Aurelie Neyret’s digital illustrations. The light and shading is close to watercolor. I enjoy her use of shadow, not only for the depth, but the bright rich colors (even in the dark) have another aspect to consider. TVs are left on and toys left out (p 20)…how could that be a bad thing, right? Meng writes some bizarre scenarios in which to entertain her reader and Neyret is effortless in not only rendering them, but bringing a strong personality that is all her own.


Shelf Elf’s review (aka how I learned of the book)

This would be nicely paired with John Rocco’s Blackout in palette and themes. my review.

{images belong to Aurelie Neyret and Clarion. images as formed and used found here.)

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