The Secret Plan by Julia Sarcone-Roach

Four friends, Milo, Hildy, Henry and Harriet are always being interrupted by bedtime!  So they hatch a cunning plan to get to stay up later.  Of course, their first few plans don’t work as well as they had hoped as their parents discover them hiding around the house, see through their disguises, and not even sneaking out works.  In their final plan, they pretend to be getting ready for bed as usual, then Milo the elephant dons his big furry monster slippers to sneak up the stairs.  They head to the attic where they find costumes, books, and snacks.  Eventually they start to get sleepy and head back down to bed.

This is such a winning book.  The four main characters are real scamps and their plans and the outcomes are deliciously naughty and very funny.  I especially appreciated Milo blending in with the wallpaper by painting stripes on himself.  Their disguise is equally funny with all of them working together.  But it is the ending of the book that really makes it work.  Instead of getting into any trouble in their late night escapade, they have a quiet time with books and a tea party in the attic.  There is no parental outrage, no repercussions, just the immense pleasure of a late night with friends.

Sarcone-Roach’s art works very well here.  Done in acrylic paint, the illustrations are rich, vivid and engaging.  A lot of the humor here is visual, though the wry tone of voice of the text offers some of the laughs.  The house that the animals share is wonderfully tippy and upright, filled with stairs. 

A great book to share for a bedtime story or a special late night read.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.