Friday, November 23, 2007

The Blanket Show

The Blanket Show by prolific Christian children's book author Dandi Daley Mackall and increasingly popular artist David Hohn is a fun way to get your kids more excited about bedtime. The book begins:

"Pick up the toys!
Grab your bear!
Got your blankie? Meet you there.
Kids are scurrying everywhere.
Time for The Blanket Show!"

Then we see the first of three "acts" in the book: A two-page spread with a puppy and some blocks, introducing "Act 1." Next, we see children taking off their shoes and running to the bathroom to take baths, brush teeth, and change into jammies.

Turn the page, and there's another two-page spread with a cat and some fridge magnets reading "Act 2." Then we see kids jumping into bed, snuggling into blankets, and grabbing teddy bears. Parents start reading Bible stories. Next, the author writes:

"Intermission, don't you think?
Need some water? Just one drink."

Turn the page, and there's another two-page spread, this time featuring a turtle and a train with letters reading "Act Three." Now children are getting hugs and kisses and saying their prayers, while the author reminds that "angels guard you through the night." As we see images of children drifting off to sleep, another two-page spread reads "Grand Finale." We see kids dreaming of happy things like puppies and playgrounds. The author concludes:

"Close your eyes and let it go.
Dream your dreams, for don't you know?
You're starring in The Blanket Show!"

What I Like: This is a subtly Christian book, only a mention of angels (and a picture of one), prayers, and Bible stories separates it from secular books similar to it. But it's not the Christian content that makes this book unique. It's the way the author subtly assures children they can sleep safely and soundly...and the way she and the author make bedtime seem like a game. The illustrations by Hohn are characteristically warm and inviting, and do a great deal to get the theatrical game across to readers.

What I Dislike: The last page of the book shows a theatre marque, with "The Blanket Show" being the show of the evening. Where a movie poster might otherwise hang, the text reads: "Starring (your name here). Next performance - tomorrow night!" This is a cute idea, and a nice way to personalize the book. But it should be at the beginning of the book, for then the first reading of this title wouldn't be so confusing. (Subsequent readings make perfect sense, but I didn't "get" the whole theatre thing when I first started the book.)

Overall Rating: Very good.

Age Appeal: 2 - 5.

Publishing Info: WaterBrook Press, 2007; ISBN: 1400072050; hard back, $9.99.

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Or at for $9.99.

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