CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 15. . . .December 15, 2017
A Bedtime Yarn.
Nicola Winstanley. Illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2017.
32 pp., hardcover, $21.99.
Preschool / Ages 1-4.
Review by Roxy Garstad.
He smelled the tangy scent of the bright green lawn where he played barefoot in the summer.
And he sniffed the yellow dandelions that covered the grass in the spring, and sneezed!
A young bear named Frankie stars in Winstanley’s A Bedtime Yarn. Frankie is often afraid at night but finds solace in holding balls of yarn while his mother knits a surprise object for him. Every colour of yarn inspires imaginative thinking – for instance, gray reminds him of being enclosed in a cozy fog while orange is reminiscent of a cuddly marmalade kitten. Each page takes Frankie to a new beloved object or even a whole scene, all inspired by the particular colour of yarn he is holding that night. Eventually, Frankie becomes less afraid of the night, and his mother reveals what she has made for him. He is able, finally, to fall asleep without the comfort of the ball of yarn.
The depiction of Frankie and his surroundings is similar to the artistry in the original “Golden Books”. The illustrator has done exquisite work in depicting Frankie’s imaginary worlds, weaving together the story in a visually poetic manner. The text is descriptive, with expressive and vivid adjectives. The plot moves along at a relaxed, yet steady, pace, one which is sure to keep the interest of toddlers and preschoolers. A Bedtime Yarn will be of special interest to those children who find nighttime frightening.
The only concern with this particular title is that it depicts a family in standard gender-based roles, with the mother being primarily responsible for bedtime care, and for her stereotypical depiction as a knitter, which has typically been women’s work. It would be refreshing if the father, who does not appear in the story, was the knitter instead. Nevertheless, A Bedtime Yarn is a worthy addition to any children’s collection.
Roxy Garstad is the Collections Librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.
© CM Association
University of Manitoba
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