Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Jen Corace
Chronicle Books, 2008
Once, up on a branch, there was a fellow named Little Hoot.
The plot in a nutshell: An owl wants to go to bed earlier, like his other friends.
Little Hoot has a swell life. He enjoys school and he loves playing with his friends. He even enjoys practicing his pondering and staring. But he doesn’t like bedtime, because owls have to stay up very late. He tells his mother that it’s not fair that all of his other friends get to go to bed early and he has to stay up and play. Mama tells him that he can go to bed after he stays up for just one more hour. So he plays for a while and then comes back and asks if he can go to bed now, but his parents tell him he still has 10 minutes to wait. So he plays on his skateboard for 10 more minutes and then happily flies off to bed. His parents come in with a bedtime story and glass of water, but Little Hoot is already asleep.
This is the second book in the ‘Little’ trilogy from Bookshelf favorite Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Each book in the series takes a time-honored parent/child conflict and turns it upside down, providing a hilarious and clever perspective that can be appreciated by all its readers. Little Hoot throws the same arguments for going to bed early that most kids use for staying up later, so kids are likely to recognize their own behavior here. The book ends with a laugh, too, by closing with ‘And they owl lived happily ever after.’ Groan-inducing, maybe, but I had to admit it me grin.
The ink and watercolor illustrations from Jen Corace (who also illustrated the other two Little books) are just adorable. I love that we get to see Little Hoot imagining all of his friends sleeping when he tells his parents that they all get to go to bed early. In his mind, they all look so comfortable in their different beds. When he finally does get to go to sleep, the images are included as numbered figures showing different positions and levels of sleep. I loved this book and its premise, which makes the whole bedtime battle seems a little less stressful.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that little ones will argue the bedtime rules, whatever they are.