________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 21 . . . . June 23, 2006


Jack's Bed. (Green Bananas).

Lynne Rickards. Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2006.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.16 (pbk.), $18.36 (RLB).
ISBN 0-7787-1044-0 (pbk.), ISBN 0-7787-1028-9 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Bedtime-Juvenile fiction.
Toys-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4


Jack awoke in the middle of the night. Everything was dark and quiet.

Jack saw strange shadows on the walls. Was that a spiky monster beside the bookcase?


While the publisher says that the books in the “Green Bananas” series are directed at children ages 4-6 and have a reading level of Kindergarten through grade 1, Jack's Bed is definitely at the younger end of that scale as its focus, not wanting to go to bed because of being afraid of sleeping alone, is not a subject with which “big” boys and girls would want to be associated. Like the other books in this series, Jack's Bed contains three brief stories linked by a common theme.

     In the first of the book's trio of stories, “I Don't Want to Go to Bed!” Jack resists his parents' efforts to get him ready for bed, and Jack keeps repeating the story's title as he puts on his pyjamas and brushes his teeth. In an attempt to delay the inevitability of bedtime, Jack suggests that his parents read him several books. Voicing his fear that there could be monsters in his room, he is assured by his mother that his room is monster-free after Jack's father had reinforced Jack's fears by saying, “I'll put on your night-light....That will scare them off.” While listening to a book being read, Jack falls to sleep.

     Although the parents were successfully in getting Jack to go to bed and fall asleep, the second story, “Staying in Bed,” reveals that Jack didn't spend his whole night there. Waking up in the middle of the night, Jack, despite his night-light, believes that there are monsters in his room, and so he heads for his parents' bed and snuggles down between them. However, in the morning he finds himself back in his own bed and wonders how he got there. At breakfast, Mom announces to Jack that they are going to “Get you a special stay-in-your-own-bed present.” A trip to the store yields a furry spotted leopard with a hot water bottle inside it. That night, with the comforting warmth of his spotted leopard beside him, Jack willingly goes to bed, knowing that the always wide-eyed leopard will watch for monsters.

     The final story, “Imagine!” simply consists of a full week's worth of Jack's imaginary adventures which occur while he and his spotted leopard are on or below his bed. Commencing on Monday and concluding on Sunday, Jack's adventures, which each occupy a pair of facing pages, include his being an acrobat, a mountain climber, an adventurer rafting down a jungle river, an explorer investigating the cave beneath his bed, an igloo builder. a rainforest tree house constructor, and a camel driver. “After all his adventures, Jacks was quite tired out. Good night, Jack!”

     Jack's concern about going to bed is clearly reflected in Beardshaw's cartoon-like illustrations, and the joy and fun shown on Jack's face in the closing story indicates to readers that Jack has definitely conquered his bedtime fears.

     As remarked upon earlier, the book's theme likely makes Jack's Bed a better fit for pre-kindergarten collections.


Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and adolescent literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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