A new picture book that was just recently added to our children’s collection is one that I highly recommend as a part of any story time. The book is entitled Topsy Turvy Bedtime, by Joan Levine and illustrated by Tony Auth. I used it as part of a “Sleeping Animals” story time. I told the children that some animals sleep all winter, contrasting them with other animals that sleep only nightly or daily, like us.
Topsy Turvy Bedtime completely captivated me. From the first page, I loved the little girl, Arathusela. Her name is unique yet fun-to-say. The children laughed just at the sound of it. I have to admit I liked the sound of it rolling off of my own tongue, too. Her short stature makes her appealing, but her personality and strength of character is not to be overlooked, despite her smallness. This dynamo of a girl grabs you from the start of the story and doesn’t let go.
The best part of the story is that there is a reversal in roles. Arathusela gets to be the boss when it comes to bedtime. Without being preachy, it helps kids to relate to some of what their parents may go through when trying to get THEM to go to sleep. The parents responses to Arathusela’s directions are hilarious. There is a real lesson to be learned here, but the story itself is so much fun that it wouldn’t matter even if there weren’t!
This is a picture book that made a wonderful impression on me. The illustrations are endearing: long, lean and tall parents looking down at a small ball of energy that is the main character, without ever being demeaning. The dialogue is just right, too. It’s smart but understandable, and the words are recognizable as some any parent might say to their child. There are not too many words, which I find to be a real downfall in many picture books. Let the kids fill in any blanks with their imaginations! Everything doesn’t need to be spelled out.
This is a book to be shared with every kid you know–no matter the age. It makes for a humorous and delightful listening experience for both the reader and the audience. The visuals, as I’ve said, are warm and engaging, as well. This is a story I recommend as a part of any story time, no matter the theme.