CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 16 . . . . April 13, 2001
"Eddie ... Eddie ... Eddie ... EDDIE ... EDDIE, GO TO BED!!!"Eddie is a night owl, and he never seems to get tired. He enrolls in Night School, and, at 9:00 p.m., he boards the bus and travels down the silent streets to his new school. Eddie soon notices that things are a little different at Night School. The class studies owls, lightbulbs, the moon, werewolves, and other nocturnal animals. During midnight recess, the children watch the late show on television. Snacks are delivered from a nearby nightclub, and miners' hats and flashlights are distributed to the children before they go out on the playground. Slowly the night ticks by, and around 4 a.m., Eddie becomes very sleepy. He mistakenly wonders out loud when morning will arrive but "morning" is a "bad word" at Night School, and Eddie and the rest of the new students are sent to the office. The children ascend the stairs of each progressively creepier floor of Night School and soon reach the office. When the school principal reveals the true nature of Night School, Eddie leads the other children in a speedy escape. The children are chased by the Night School creature teachers, but Eddie's cheery shout of "Good Morning" halts the pursuers. Once he arrives home, Eddie begs his parents to let him go to bed! Although Eddie returns to regular day school, he sometimes wonders about Night School.
Lesynski's humourous picture book is written in rhyming verse. She effectively uses various fonts to enhance meaning, and the rhymes and rhythms of the text are a delight to read aloud. Lesynski uses the verse form to dramatic effect, and on several occasions she builds tension just before turning the page! The text and illustrations are equally humourous. Her characteristic cartoon-like, watercolour and coloured pencil drawings are energetic. Many intertextual connections are included in the comical illustrations. The Night School bus driver is Dracula, the principal is Frankenstein, and books on the teacher's desk include Goodnight Moon by Wise Brown, In the Night Kitchen by Sendak, Stormy Night by Lemieux, Silent Night by Granfield and yes, Night School by Lesynski. Other humourous events, signs, and words that play on the night theme are embedded in several illustrations.
Sylvia Pantaleo is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queen's University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in children's literature and all areas of the language arts.
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