Time for Bed, Old House by Janet Costa Bates

Cover image for Time for Bed, Old House.

Time for Bed, Old House by Janet Costa Bates, illustrated by AG Ford (9781536209983)

Isaac is on his very first sleepover at Grandpop’s house. He’s had a great time, but isn’t looking forward to sleeping away from home. Isaac insists that he isn’t sleepy, so he and Grandpop put the house to bed together. They move quietly and slowly, turning off the lights. As the house gets darker, Isaac hears noises, but they are easily explained as being the dog or the wind moving the swings outside. The window shades are closed for the night and they head upstairs, listening to the sounds of the creaking house. Then Isaac reads a picture book aloud and puts Grandpop to sleep. Then it’s up to him to listen to the sounds of the house and say good night.

This is a gentle story about sleeping over at a grandparent’s home for the first time. Isaac is unsure but also excited, an accurate portrayal of the mix of feelings that young children have at staying away from home, particularly for the first time. The quiet and slow good-night process adds to the lovely bedtime tone. I particularly appreciate that it is a grandfather doing this loving moment with his grandson.

The illustrations offer just the right mixture of glowing lights, gathering darkness, and warmth as this Black grandfather and grandson share a special evening together. This book is not one to startle or scare and the illustrations take real care in exposing what the noises actually are in the house. The empowering final scenes when Isaac is the last one up also set the perfect tone.

Quiet and filled with building self-esteem. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Candlewick.

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