Not Last Night but the Night Before


Not Last Night but the Night Before by Colin McNaughton, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

A little boy runs to answer the door and there are three black cats there.  They rush in and knock him to the ground.  Then the man in the moon is at the door, he also rushes in.  And so one after the other fairy tale characters knock on the door and then shove, push, and knock the boy right down.  Finally when Punch, Judy, Baby and Crocodile knock on the door, they shake hands and greet him warmly.  And that is when readers and the little boy suddenly understand where everyone was headed and why. 

McNaughtons rhymes are bouncy and great fun to read aloud.  They invite you into the silliness and imagination at play here.  Clark’s illustrations are equally inviting as they depict beloved characters.  I particularly love the way the characters wait patiently and sweetly at the door but then proceed to barge in and down goes the boy again.  That little tension before each onslaught is delicious. 

This is ideal for reading aloud.  It will work best for children who know the characters, but those just learning about them will enjoy the energy and fun here too.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from library copy.