Updated: July 6, 2012 9:29AM
NO GO SLEEP! by Kate Feiffer, illustrated by Jules Feiffer (Simon & Schuster, $16.99, ages 3+): Kate Feiffer, writer, filmmaker and mom, teams up with her dad, the Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist, to imagine a defiantly awake toddler. He resists assurances of his parents and even the moon, who says, “Don’t be scared, I’ll keep the night light for you,” and the front door, who vows, “I’m closed until morning.” With a happy ending, it’s a lovely blend of spare prose and Jules Feiffer’s artistic magic, which builds personalities out of swirls and curls of ink.
I’M NOT TIRED YET! by Marianne Richmond (Sourcebooks, $16.99, ages 4+): At age 6, Ralphie Mix doesn’t want to go to bed. He has his share of excuses: A bug is crawling across the carpet, a monster is trying to hide in his closet, a mosquito is buzzing in his ear. But Ralphie’s mom, armed with a sense of humor, has a few things to offer: a fishy goldfish kiss, a big gorilla hug and a cozy polar bear cuddle. It’s all slightly goofy until Ralphie falls asleep, just after insisting, “But I’m not tired ...”
SERIOUSLY, JUST GO TO SLEEP, by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Ricardo Cort (Akashic, $15.95, ages 1+): The authors delighted and shocked parents with their 2011 best seller, Go the ---- to Sleep, a foul-mouthed picture-book parody for grown-ups. Now they’ve teamed up on a kids’ version where the four-letter words are “cozy” and “warm.” In verse, an increasingly exasperated dad points out that whales, eagles, field mice and even the giant pangolins of Madagascar, have gone to sleep. The wide-awake kid, in different genders and ethnicities on each page, gets the last laugh, but not before an inside joke for grown-ups. One of Cort’s paintings of a “bleary and dazed” dad pictures Samuel L. Jackson, whose audiobook reading of Go the ---- to Sleep was an R-rated hit.
SWEET DREAMS, by Rose A. Lewis, illustrated by Jen Corace (Abrams, $16.95, ages 3+): Lewis’ old-fashioned poem begins “Good night, my precious child/May your dreams be long and sweet/And full of great adventures/With the friends you’re soon to meet.” With cameos by a smiling Mr. Moon and a happy Miss Sunshine, the words border on the precious, but that’s part of the point. No angst here, just Jen Corace’s soothing watercolors of sweet dreams in dreamland.