________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 33 . . . . April 27, 2018


The Big Bed.

Bummi Laditan. Pictures by Tom Knight.
New York, NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Distributed in Canada by Raincoat Books), 2018.
32 pp., hardcover, $22.50.
ISBN 978-0-374-30123-1.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


This quirky tale features as narrator a little girl who has dark skin, curly hair barely contained in two large bunches over her ears and a big, big voice. She is determined to convince her father that her sleeping in the big bed along with him and Mommy is the ideal arrangement. Even better would be for Daddy to bunk somewhere else!

      Using careful reasoning and a visual aid – her art easel turned into a flip-chart – she makes her case:

[Daddy], I have no problem with you during the day.
You're a wonderful wrestler. You're also very gifted at
the art of horsie ride. What I'm trying to say is that you are
a valued member of this team. A VIP.
But every night we struggle with the same question:
Who does Mommy belong to?

      After all, Daddy has his own mother to look after him, so why can't he understand her argument?

Science has proven that one of the many symptoms of bedtime
is darkness. Daddy, are you scared of the dark? …I can't sleep alone.

      As she needs to be in the big bed with Mommy and have enough room to spread out, the perfect solution is a separate bed for Daddy – a camp cot.

Every night can feel like a camping trip with
a metal-and-canvas cot! With this almost twin-size
portable mountain bed, you'll feel like an honorary
park ranger and look like one too!

      British artist Tom Knight has provided lively colour illustrations full of pliant human forms. They are dominated by thought balloons showing the girl's vision of how family life could be rearranged to best suit her sleeping requirements. The pictures are pivotal in making the author's point that this little whirlwind would be a handful for any parents. She knows what she wants and is determined to get it!

      As she concludes her argument:

I hope you're as excited as I am. Tell you what:
Tomorrow we're going to pick out some special new sheets
for your awesome sleeping rectangle. Mommy and I
just want you to be happy.

      The Big Bed will definitely have adult readers laughing as they share the story with older preschoolers and primary-aged children. One thought: this is a theme children would relate to more after they have grown past the stage being described, as it is probably more common among children too young to appreciate the joke.


Ellen Heaney is a retired children's librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, contact cm@umanitoba.ca.

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