Written and Illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
Walker Books for Young Readers, 2013
It’s time for bed, Fred! Oh no, Fred, where are you going?
The plot in a nutshell: A dog tries to avoid bedtime.
Fred takes off running as soon as he hears that it’s bedtime. First he hunkers down in the flower beds, then he climbs a tree and falls into a pile of leaves. He digs, has a scratch and then leaps into a nearby mud puddle. So, of course, he has to have a bath, but before he can dry off, he bolts outside for a big shake (right in front of the clothesline full of clean clothes). He hides in several places, but eventually comes in for a story before bed. But then he can’t seem to find his bed. After trying out spots under the chair, in the laundry basket and on his person’s bed, he finally finds his own bed and drops off for the night.
This was the debut picture book from author/illustrator Yasmeen Ismail and it’s absolutely delightful. Fred is a wonderful character and I think that young kids who pull out all the stops to avoid bedtime will identify with him and love him right away. One thing I really love about him is that he is shown as really happy and cheerful throughout the book, making me think that running away from bedtime is one of his favorite things to do. Ms. Ismail’s watercolor illustrations are playful and vibrant, in a really lovely color palette that feels like autumn. The book’s text is entirely comprised of what the dog’s owner (who we never see) is saying to him throughout his adventure. It’s a quick and easy read that would be lots of fun at bedtime.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that even the most intense bedtime avoiders find their way to sleep eventually.