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Kathy Stinson. Illustrated by Robin Baird Lewis.
Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 1991.
32pp., galley, $14.95.
ISBN 0-19-540824-1. CIP.

Subject Heading:

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Patricia Fry.

Volume 19 Number 6
1991 November

Musical beds, anyone? I'll bet there isn't a parent alive who hasn't played some version of this game, which usually begins when a thunderstorm or a nightmare sends junior roaring full speed ahead into the family bed. Musical beds also occurs when an extended family is crammed into a too-small house or cottage. Anyone who has experienced the fun and frustration that can occur in pursuit of a good night's sleep will enjoy Wno is Sleeping in Aunty's Bed ?

The story begins when Aunty's younger sister arrives with her two daughters and husband in tow. Both the children want the privilege of sleeping with Aunty, so Dad flips a coin and Meg, the youngest, wins.

"Everything in Aunty's house was quiet until ... Aunty snorted and woke Meg up." So begins a long chain of events that has Meg curling in with her parents and kicking Mom awake. Mom then seeks refuge with Aunty and, of course, manages to awaken her by singing in her sleep. The evening progresses in this fashion with family members hopping from bed to bed in search of a decent night's sleep. Dear old Dad is the only character who manages to sleep through the night without waking up and without moving!

Aunty's dog gets the worst deal. This sad-looking hound wakes up with each shift and doesn't look satisfied until he curls up for some uninterrupted shuteye first thing in the morning. He is cleverly brought to life by the colourful illustrations of Lewis, who has once again teamed up with Stinson. This book represents the first collaboration in eight years between the author-illustrator team that produced the awardwinning, internationally acclaimed Red is Best ¹.

This book is truly a team effort because the illustrations easily balance the text. They're large and plentiful - at least two, sometimes three, to a double-page spread. They evoke the action by capturing the emotions of the characters with the downturn of a mouth or with a crinkled eyebrow. This funny tale of "musical beds" will appeal to anyone who has ever had trouble sleeping with someone else!

Highly recommended.

Patricia Fry, Port Credit, ON.

¹ Reviewed vol. XI/1 January 1983, p.33.

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