Friday, October 22, 2021

Picture Book Review: Time for Bed, Old House by Janet Costa Bates, illustrated by AG Ford

Quick Booktalk 

Isaac is nervous about spending the night at his grandfather's house, but Grandpop calms his nerves by taking Isaac around to say goodnight to every part of the old house. 

About the Illustrations 

Something about the pictures in this book doesn't really work for me. The items in the background of each illustration have a more straightforward feel to them, but the figures are more animated and cartoonish in a way that makes them feel at odds with the setting. Many of the pictures also place the figures at a distance from the reader, and it's almost hard to follow the action, even with the book right up close. The best illustrations are the ones where Isaac and Grandpop appear large and expressive, and there just aren't enough of those. 

Story Time Possibilities

Because so many of the illustrations are hard to pick out at any kind of distance, I wouldn't recommend this as a story time book. The onomatopoetic words used to convey the sounds the house makes do beg to be read aloud, however, and this could be a very satisfying bedtime story to read aloud one-on-one, especially with a grandfather. 

Readers Advisory

This book portrays a loving relationship between a black child and his grandfather, and that is sure to appeal to libraries looking to diversify their picture book collections. It also works well as a story for dispelling fears kids have about strange noises in their houses at bedtime, and for reinforcing the idea that a trusted adult will be there with the child all night long. 


I received a finished copy of Time for Bed, Old House from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. 

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