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Sonderbooks Book Review of

I Just Want to Say Good Night

by Rachel Isadora


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I Just Want to Say Good Night

by Rachel Isadora

Review posted November 12, 2018.
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2017. 32 pages.
Starred Review
Review written in 2017

This book makes me wish for a child to read bedtime stories to! (Though my co-worker is starting a monthly Pajama Storytime at our library. I’ll recommend this book.)

On the African veld, there is a village.
As the sun sets, parents tell their children,
“It is time for bed.”

The illustrations of the book are bright yellows and oranges and pinks, appropriate for the setting sun in Africa.

On the next spread, we focus in on one child.

Lala greets her papa, who has been fishing.
“Ooh! You caught a big one!” she says.
“Yes, it was a good day,” Papa says.

“It is time for bed,” Papa tells Lala.
“I just want to say good night to the fish,” Lala says.

Then Mama starts urging Lala to bed, as the sun gets lower, and the sky gets darker (but still orange), and the shadows get longer. Lala just wants to say good night to the cat. And the bird. And the goat. And the monkey. And the chickens. (Now the moon and stars are up.) And the little ants.

Through all of this, Mama’s calls have nice rhythm and realistic variety. ( “It is time to go to sleep!” “Come now!” “Oh, Lala!”)

“I’m just not ready to go to sleep,” Lala says to her dog.

When Lala finally gets into bed, she just wants to say good night to her book.

I love the tribute, because on the next spread, we see the book is the classic Goodnight, Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown.

“Good night, moon!” she whispers and smiles.

On the very last page, things are finally quiet, with the moon shining through the window onto the bed.

This book is simply lovely. The colors are bright, fitting with the setting sun. Lala has spunk, and I like the way her braided hair stands up in all directions.

Do you want to read a book to a child about another child prolonging bedtime? Well, it has lots of saying good night, and it ends with cozy sleep, so I think this one’s a winner.