The Wee Hours

Cover

Written by Stephanie Watson, Illustrated by Mary GrandPré

Disney Hyperion Books, 2013

Late, late, late, while you dreamed of a sunny Saturday, the Wee Hours arrived.

The plot in a nutshell: The nighttime hours are represented by small people.

The first Wee Hour shows up at 1:00 a.m. He reads books upside down, builds towers just to destroy them and pull the sun from your dream. At 2:00, the second one shows up to rifle through drawers, do a dance and release the birds from your dream. The third one does acrobatics and plays with your dream horses and the fourth one leads a parade of your dream dinosaurs. They all laugh and play together. But then the fifth Wee Hour shows up and pulls everyone together to listen to stories. The sixth one leads all the birds, horses and dinosaurs back to your dream. The seventh one helps clean up all the mess left behind and helps Five and Six settle the other Wee Hours to sleep, where they all dream of you.

Five

I don’t want 5am to read me a story. I pretty much just want him to leave me alone.

Author Stephanie Watson creates a fanciful nighttime world in this, her first picture book. Each hour of the night is personified by a magical little person, displaying the number of their hour somewhere in their clothes. The first four of these people are spirited and lively and they cover the deepest part of the night, when you are fast asleep and dreaming. The last three represent the early morning hours and they transition everyone to being awake and help undo any damage caused by the other hours. It’s a cute idea, especially when they have the ability to interact with your dreams.

Illustrator Mary GrandPré is best known for her wonderful artwork in the Harry Potter book series and she brings that same sense of magic to this story. Her depictions of the Wee Hours show them as playful and maybe a little mischievous but not threatening or scary at all. Keen observers will pick up on the inclusion of a white cat on almost every page who is keeping an eye on the hours during their play. The responsible morning hours have a more mature appearance than the bouncy late night hours, giving them a reassuring look. This one is sure to capture the imagination of especially creative kids.

And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that every night, no matter how wild your dreams can be, settles down into morning.

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