- Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell
ISBN 978-0-316-33801-1 $15.99 R* 4-6 yrs
Little bunny Clement is excited when his friends, Jean (an elephant) and Alan Alexander (a bear), show up at his door one evening in their PJs, ready for a sleepover. Clement’s caretaker, a human girl named Maggie, serves a snack and lets them have their fun, including jumping on the bed, doing the chicken dance, and playing hide-and-seek. Yoga, a shooting star, and a night bird’s lullaby bring down the action a notch, and Maggie soon tucks them into bed—where it is revealed that the trio may actually be Maggie’s stuffed toys (and are most certainly an homage to classic children’s books). McDonnell’s storytelling is concise but detailed, and the book’s simplicity, gentle rhythms, and easy patterns make it perfect for bedtime reading. Names and textual references make a clear connection to time-honored tales Goodnight Moon, Winnie the Pooh, and The Story of Babar (Maggie reads them “their favorite bedtime stories—stories about a majestic elephant, a brave bear, and a quiet bunny”). Visual nods—Clement’s blue-and-white striped pajamas, Alan’s red balloon, etc.—cement the connection, and viewers who’ve spent time with those classics will be delighted to hunt for other hints in the pictures. McDonnell’s solid but energetic linework gives a certain verve to the trio’s activities, while the watercolors soften the background, creating a warm, joyful feeling that welcomes [End Page 261] audiences just as Clement welcomes his friends. The details keep the pictures fresh and original, but never overwhelm the quiet story. Youngsters who love their stuffed animals will particularly latch onto this, and parents who want to promote nocturnal tranquility (or those with their own fond memories of Pooh Bear) will appreciate this little gem as well.