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Review of One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to 
Send You Off to Sleep

nesbitt_one minute till bedtimeOne Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to 
Send You Off to Sleep
selected by Kenn Nesbitt; 
illus. by Christoph Niemann
Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    168 pp.
11/16    978-0-316-34121-9    $19.99

A former Children’s Poet Laureate has compiled over 120 short and engaging poems by an impressive number of today’s children’s writers. Here you won’t find the old-standbys (Robert Louis Stevenson, Eleanor Farjeon) — these are contemporary children’s poets and poems, and even a few writers who aren’t generally thought of as poets, such as Jon Scieszka and Lemony Snicket. Familiar authors including Jane Yolen, Jack Prelutsky, and Janet Wong appear alongside many lesser-known poets, so the collection as a whole feels very fresh. The volume is broken into six sections, each led by one of Nesbitt’s poems. (“What Do You Dream?”: “Teddy bear, teddy bear, / what do you dream?”) Poems about bedtime, sleeping, being tucked in, the night, and the moon make up about a quarter of the collection, and in between appears an eclectic selection of pieces arranged naturally to flow from one to another. Niemann’s illustrations are color-coded to each section, with his energetic, often funny line drawings sometimes in reverse (lighter color set against dark background), effectively conveying the night. Nonsense poems, wordplay, nature, whimsy, and tenderness all mix together here in a collection that families with children from preschool through primary grades and beyond will enjoy reading together before bed.

From the January/February 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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Susan Dove Lempke About Susan Dove Lempke

Susan Dove Lempke is a Horn Book reviewer and director of the Niles Public Library District in Illinois.

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