When the World Is Ready for Bed - Gillian Shields, Anna Currey image
Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my BEDTIME STORIES list.

I have a little boy and love reading to him, so this reading list will cover the classic (and new) children’s stories we’re enjoying together.

As I mentioned in my last review (for Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy), it was my baby son's first birthday recently and he was given quite a few books. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy is my favourite of the bunch (which is why it got reviewed first) but When the World Is Ready for Bed ran it pretty close and gets a highly respectable silver medal in my baby-birthday-books 2013 awards.

A family of rabbits is getting ready for bed: the sun goes down, the birds sing, they tidy up and eat their dinner, calm down, brush their teeth, cuddle their toys, etc. It's a short poem - 12 pairs of rhyming couplets - with soft words and gently rhythm, and it's dead easy to slip into a dreamy sing-song sort of recitation. The pictures are very sweet - almost too sweet, but just about bearable, like a builder's cup of tea, with so much sugar the spoon stands up straight - that's how sweet it is. And I don't even take sugar in my coffee, I like it black and bitter.

I've never been a big fan of rabbits. I've never understood them as pets - if you're going to step away from cats and dogs, then rats and ferrets have far more personality than rabbits. And in the wild... well. The fact that fast-breeding is their primary survival tactic says a lot about them as a species. I've seen a fox walk through a field full of rabbits at twilight, and there was this gentle rippling motion as the rabbits shuffled away from the fox. "As long as I'm not the closest rabbit to the fox, he probably won't eat me..." -- all the fox had to do was break into an unexpected sprint and he had dinner in his jaws! Wind in the Willows got bonus points from me for depicting the rabbits as cowardly simpletons who are dumber than a box full of hair.

So - having demonstrated my animosity to rabbit kind - the fact that this particular picture book still gets four stars from me is testament to quite how adorable this fuzzy little rabbit-people family is.

When the World Is Ready for Bed comes highly recommended. I'm sure when my boy is more interested in hearing the story than eating the book, he'll love it as a classic.

After this I read: Ripples In An Emerald Sea