The Prince's Bedtime

The Prince’s Bedtime by Joanne Oppenheim, illustrated by Miriam Latimer.

The young prince simply will not go to bed!  His royal parents try everything from warm millk to a soft quilt.  Finally they call out to the kingdom for help.  The doctor tries to give him sleeping draughts, but he refuses to take them.  He ends up the only one awake after everyone else gives them a sip.  Then dancers perform to get him tired, but again the prince is the only one still dancing at dawn.  The ideas continue from magic to large pillows, but no luck.  Until an old lady comes to the castle and pulls out a book.  A bedtime story.

Children will relate to the prince in the story as he stays awake far into the night.  They will also enjoy the humor of the all of the attempts to get the prince to sleep and the many ways they fail.  The book is written in rhyme which carries the story onward with the romping energy of the little prince.  The energetic, bright-colored and quirky illustrations also fill the book with zest and movement. 

While perfect as a bedtime story tucked under your own soft covers and with your own pillow, this would also be a winner at a pajama storytime or special pajama day at school.  I promise you, no one will doze off with this one being read aloud!

Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen by Catherinie Gilbert Murdock.

As I continue to read through books that people have been raving about, I encountered this entirely wonderful teen novel.  DJ is a teenager who feels as if her whole life has been taken over by caring for the family farm.  She isn’t sure where her life is headed, especially since she failed English the year before.  Then Brian Nelson, the quarterback for a rival football team gets sent by his coach to their farm to learn about working hard, and DJ slowly finds that she can talk with Brian more easily than with anyone else in her life.  As she learns to open up with Brian, DJ also begins to be more honest with herself about the troubles in her family and what she really wants in life.  And she definitely knows that she does not want to continue to do just what is expected of her. 

 Murdock captures Wisconsin and family farms in a wonderful way.  I had a great friend in high school who was a DJ, a tomboy who worked more than her share of hours on the family farm.  And like DJ, she struggled with obligations vs dreams. 

The quality of writing in this novel is lovely.  The quality of characterization lifts this far above other books that it could be compared to.   The author never gets in the way of the story, allowing the book to read easily.  It is like a scoop of homemade ice cream, that allows you to understand the work that is needed, be in awe of those who can do it, and is very satisfying at the end.  Lovely stuff.

Recommend to any girl at all.  Anyone will love it and recognize their own struggles with breaking free from expectations.