Colin Meloy and Shawn Harris
Chronicle Children’s Books
Wide awake, a child narrator lying in bed regales readers with the night-time activities of various members of the household, not one of whom is actually in bed despite it being almost midnight. Speaking in rhyme he tells of the relatively normal activities ‘Grandma’s at her needlework. / Dad is baking bread. / My brother’s making laundry lists / of every book he’s read’;
and the much more unlikely “My brother’s now reciting every line from Condorman while my sister is trapezing from the kitchen ceiling fan. / Dad just rolled the motorbike into the living room and is practicing Sinatra with the handle of the broom.’
Why oh why, when they have a busy day planned for tomorrow would Mum decide to go up on the roof and start fixing broken slates, or brother spend time using toothpaste tops to build a temple – totally bizarre behaviour. Even the family pets have got involved in the action: the cat’s been taking lessons in bad language from ‘my brother’ and then goes on to engage in a spot of tattooing.
Will these frenzied activities ever cease?
Eventually our narrator just has to go down.
The retro feel illustrations rendered in ink, charcoal and pencil with added colour absolutely capture all the frenzied nocturnal activity as the clock ticks on towards the morning. With a satisfying finale, the entire thing is absolutely and defiantly crazy – insomnia guaranteed – so best not shared as a bedtime tale.