The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds, by Marisabina Russo (Dragonfly, 2013), ISBN: 978-0307981264
Recommended for ages 3 – 7
It’s bedtime for three bunny siblings. Mama and Daddy put them to bed, and settle in to have some relaxing time together, when all sorts of noises erupt from the baby bunnies’ room! Mama and Daddy go up to check and discover that the bunnies are not in their beds – they’re playing! Will Mama and Daddy ever get the bunnies to go to sleep for the night?
The book is perfect for a preschool age group, who will identify with the young bunnies. Parents and caregivers will see themselves in the tired, near-exasperated parents, who hear a ruckus every time they put the bunnies to bed and start to relax. The story itself is perfect for a fun read-aloud; there is repetition and fun noises that make the story interactive: the parents saying, “good night, good night, sleep tight”, and the bunnies playful chaos: clips and clops, zooms and vrooms, and clashes and smashes give listeners a chance to jump up and act out the post-bedtime play.
The soft, gouache art lends itself to a relaxing atmosphere that allows the children to focus on the characters – a quiet bedtime read – and bold, big text for the bunnies play allows the reader to punch up the story for a more playful reading. Ms. Russo’s use of collage adds another dimension of fun to the artwork.
The author’s website offers contact information and information about her books.
This would be a great addition to a read-aloud about bedtime; I can see it being paired with a book like Jane Yolen’s How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? or Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter story, Just Go to Sleep. Allow listeners to jump around until they get themselves ready for nap time (and the caregivers will likely be grateful!). There are many songs and fingerplays about bedtime available online.