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Review of Goodnight, Good Dog

ray_goodnight good dogGoodnight, Good Dog
by Mary Lyn Ray; illus. by Rebecca Malone
Preschool   Houghton   32 pp.
11/15   978-0-544-28612-2   $16.99

A small yellow dog has no interest in going to bed. (Just like many a child.) Even after the house and the people in it are asleep, the dog is awake and remembering his fun-filled day—playing, eating, and hearing the words he knows (such as good dog). No stranger to bedtime stories, Ray (Stars, rev. 11/11; Go to Sleep, Little Farm, rev. 11/14) uses several sentences in a row containing the same repeated word (know, remember, sleep, dream), which are then followed by a short reminder that “the dog isn’t sleepy”; the repetition in this pattern creates a calming rhythm sure to quiet listeners. Also calming, Malone’s acrylic illustrations occasionally appear as spot art but are mostly double-page spreads that fill the pages with tranquil nighttime shades of blues, purples, and greens. When our dog (whose eyes, mere dots, have conveyed his sleepiness all along) does finally succumb to sleep, pup and bed overflow the page in an enlarged view, providing a you-are-there, warm and cozy sensation. Comfortably rounded, soothing shapes in the art (a lamp, the moon, the dog’s bed, a rug) continue throughout the dog’s dream (the sun, a ball), becoming more vibrant in color as morning nears and “a new day is waiting.” This effective bedtime story reminds kids that fun will be had again when they wake — but first comes sleep.

From the November/December 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Jennifer M. Brabander

Jennifer M. Brabander is former senior editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

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