Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Roaring Brook Press: Juniper's Christmas by Eoin Colfer

From My Shelf

Fusillade of Waterloo Books

The Battle of Waterloo, which marked the end of the 25-year period of revolution and war that had convulsed Europe after the French Revolution in 1789, took place nearly 200 years ago, on June 18, 1815, near the town of Waterloo, in present-day Belgium. There, an Anglo-Dutch-Prussian force led by the Duke of Wellington decisively beat Napoleon, who was soon sent into his second, more lasting exile.

Many publishers are marking the bicentennial. Among the books on parade: historical novelist Bernard Cornwell offers his first work of nonfiction, Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles (Harper), which our reviewer (see below) called "a splendid example of historical narrative."

Went the Day Well?: Witnessing Waterloo by David Crane (Knopf) is an hour-by-hour account of June 18, 1815, jumping back and forth between the battle and daily life in England. Waterloo: A New History by Gordon Corrigan (Pegasus) similarly offers "the history, people, places and equipment involved before giving a thrilling account of the battle itself."

Several books focus on who won the battle. In The Lie at the Heart of Waterloo: The Battle's Hidden Last Half Hour (History Press), Nigel Sale argues that Wellington concocted a self-serving version of the battle's conclusion. The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo by Brendan Simms (Basic Books) focuses on the Second Light Battalion, King's German Legion, which the author credits with beating back wave after wave of French infantry at the Haye Sainte farmhouse.

Waterloo in 100 Objects by Gareth Glover (History Press) tells the story of the battle in everyday objects, including bullet-pierced armor, medals, coins--even the teeth of soldiers who died that day. The Battle of Waterloo Experience by Peter and Dan Snow (Andre Deutsch) also makes the battle come to life--through illustrations as well as reproductions of contemporary letters and documents.

The most unusual Waterloo tome is Leona Francombe's bunny-eyed view of the battle, The Sage of Waterloo (Norton), reviewed in today's Pro edition of Shelf Awareness. "Part historical chronicle, part adventure story," the book retells the battle "through the lore and bedtime stories of a modern-day [rabbit] family living on the battle site at Hougoumont Farm." --John Mutter, editor-in-chief, Shelf Awareness

BINC: Read Love Support Campaign

The Writer's Life

Ann Morgan: International Reader

photo: Steve Lennon

In 2012, Ann Morgan decided to read her way around the globe, sampling one book each from 196 countries and one territory. Morgan's blog gave birth to her first book, The World Between Two Covers (Liveright, $24.95, May 4, 2015). Morgan has written for the Guardian and the Huffington Post, among other media. She lives in London.

Reading the world, finding a book from every country, was obviously a formidable task. How important was the kindness of strangers?

Very. As I didn't know where to start when it came to finding and choosing books from most places, I relied on the world's booklovers to be my guides. When I launched the project, I just asked for advice and book recommendations, but very quickly people were going much further than that to help me, sending me books and unpublished translations and manuscripts from countries with very little or no commercially available literature in English. In the cases of Sao Tome and Principe and South Sudan, people even translated and wrote things especially for me. I couldn't have read a book from every country without this help.

Publishers often claim inaccessibility and difficulty with translated texts as the reason international literature doesn't sell. Do you think that's an oversimplification? Do readers demand that regional literature conform to their expectations?

I think many readers are more adaptable and accepting of difference and difficulty than publishers often give us credit for. In recent years, people have demonstrated an increasing appetite for literature in translation--in the U.K., for example, several presses that specialize in translated fiction have reported an upsurge in sales. However, it has traditionally been the case that translated literature has sold less well than books written in English. Part of the problem lies with marketing techniques that rely on targeting readers with books that are similar to what they have read before. While these techniques no doubt make good business sense--and often increase the chances of readers enjoying the books they buy--they make it harder for people to break out and find new things.

You mention that the 1660s origin of the term "freedom of the press" was the right of every person to have access to printing equipment. Can we now apply that to an uncensored global right to the Internet?

It would be great to see access to the Internet recognized as a universal right. The possibilities it opens up for humankind--in terms of access to information, ideas and each other--are unprecedented and have enormous potential to improve many people's lives. Some countries, such as Spain, Finland and Estonia, have taken steps to enshrine the importance of Internet access in their constitutions or legal codes, or in certain legal precedents. In addition, a 2011 report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur argued for establishing this as a human right. As yet, though, we are some way off from that. Leaving aside the issues of censorship and net neutrality, which threaten to restrict what those who do have internet access in many parts of the world can see or do online, the fact is that only around 40% of the world's population is on the worldwide web, so "freedom of the virtual press" has a long way to go if it's ever to become more than an ideal.

Weltliteratur, world literature, global literature, international literature--if you have to place a label on it, which do you prefer?

Oh gosh. It depends on the context and who I'm talking too. The "world" in the term "world literature" has traditionally been rather narrow--until the mid-20th century it was generally taken to be synonymous with European literature. None of the terms is ideal as each runs the risk of imposing a false worthiness and loftiness upon a text which tells us nothing about the book in question. Most writers don't set out to write a work of "global literature" when they sit down at their desks (or wherever else they go to work); they aim to create something other people will read.

Can you talk a little about the criteria you used to decide which book to read? I understand that in some countries you were lucky to find even one book, but what process did you use to choose, say, Zambra over Bolaño or Goytisolo over Marías or de Queiroz over Saramago?

This varied from country to country. I was led by people's recommendations. Sometimes something would intrigue me and I would get that must-read buzz that grips you when you really want to get into a book. Sometimes many people recommended the same text and that inclined me towards it. At other times, I was drawn to a work precisely because it seemed different and exciting (in the case of countries with lots of options, I usually tried not to make the obvious choices as these already get plenty of attention). And sometimes someone made a compelling argument that pushed me towards certain kinds of books (India being a prime example). It was not a scientific process, but I don't think one person choosing one book from every country could ever be that, particularly in the space of just a year. It was always going to be a mixture of advice, research, personal taste and chance.

Last year I worked on the World Cup of Literature--books from the countries represented in the World Cup competed with each other and advanced based on popular voting. This year is the Women's World Cup. Do you have recommendations for books written by women from Ecuador or Côte d'Ivoire or Cameroon?

Afraid I can't really help you there. The writers I read from these countries were all men and, particularly in the case of Ecuador, it was quite tough to find much in translation at all. (Although I haven't reckoned it up exactly, I estimate the gender split for the project at about a third books by women to two-thirds books by men.) One person did recommend the work of Beatrice Fri Bime (Two Cents for Africa) from Cameroon during my project, so she might well be worth checking out. I know Cameroon in particular does have a number of well-respected women writers, so I hope I get to read their work some day. --George Carroll

Book Candy

Books Adapted into Movies; Literary Art

"How many of these books adapted into movies have you read?" asked Buzzfeed.


Bustle recommended "8 literary places in Paris every book-lover must visit while she's there."


"Display your favorite books on the wall like works of art" with the Tape Shelf, Mental Floss suggested.


"From the abbey where Byron partied to the house where Agatha Christie tested out her whodunnits," the Guardian explored some "temples of literature: writers' houses--in pictures."


"Make Time for Reading. Anywhere, Anytime" is the motto of Jakub Pavlovsky's BOOK'S CALLING Instagram project, in which he poses "at the same angle and posture in all of the photos, as if the world and environment pivots around this pose throughout the day, every day."

Book Review


Still Life with Insects

by Brian Kiteley

Leah Hager Cohen (No Book but the World) selected Brian Kiteley's first novel, Still Life with Insects (originally published in 1989), for reprinting by Pharos Editions. In her introduction, Cohen gracefully outlines the strengths of this slim, quietly powerful book.

Elwyn Farmer is an amateur entomologist, forever wandering off to peer under dry leaves or dig in riverbanks. Still Life with Insects consists of his journal entries, spanning 40 years: from 1945, when his 43rd birthday has just been celebrated, to 1985, when his vision begins to fade. The entries record his quiet rejoicing in the ephemeral glory of the natural world, the beetles he collects and, through and around them, the details of his fragile life. Following several nervous breakdowns, he tells stories in which grandchildren and tragic death figure at an equal level with the Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus marginatus), or the Asian Stink Bug his family encounters in a Hungarian resort.

Although a bug collector's field notes may not sound like an imaginative or exhilarating backdrop, Brian Kiteley's distinctive style plays well to such a challenge. His greatest accomplishment is understatement. In a mere 103 pages, a sensitive, complex man becomes a brittle old man, fully experiencing the passing of time and life. The stories that fill these journal entries, sparse and widely spaced over decades, are necessarily mere vignettes, bare sketches. Still Life with Insects is a deceptively simple story, characterized by restraint, but with many layers of allegory available to the close reader. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Discover: The subtle, sublime life of an amateur entomologist, in tiny glimpses.

Pharos Editions, $14, paperback, 9781940436203

The Eye Stone: A Novel of Venice

by Roberto Tiraboschi

The Eye Stone might be a fairly standard noir were it not for its setting: 12th-century Venice. Roberto Tiraboschi, an Italian screenwriter, playwright and novelist, has incorporated many traditional elements from the genre into his first novel published in English. It features a mysterious serial killer who makes his victims into gruesome trophies, a conspiracy involving an ancient text and an ethically loose businessman attempting to manipulate the situation to his benefit. However, if the novel is formulaic, it's a formula executed well, and setting the action in medieval Venice was a stroke of genius, thanks to Tiraboschi's keen historical eye and sense of atmosphere.

Edgardo d'Arduino, a cleric and skilled copyist, is the supposed protagonist of the novel, but at the risk of invoking cliché, Venice is the true protagonist. While d'Arduino's search for the titular "eye stone," which he hopes will heal his failing sight, is an engaging plot, it is the backdrop that truly shines. Tiraboschi portrays Venice as something akin to a Wild West boomtown built on top of a swamp. His potent descriptions also provide moments of great beauty that suggest why men and women continued to try to live in such an impossible place: "this dimension suspended between the sea and the sky, these oily, ever-changing colors that blended into one another, stirred by the wind." This exceptional vision of a city in the throes of metamorphosis will persist in the reader's mind long after the murder mystery is resolved. --Hank Stephenson, bookseller, Flyleaf Books

Discover: A noir situated in beautifully evoked 12-century Venice.

Europa Editions, $17, paperback, 9781609452650

Re Jane

by Patricia Park

The title of Patricia Park's debut novel, Re Jane, is a hint at the cleverness that lies between its covers: Park has taken the classic story of Jane Eyre and recast it at the opening of the 21st century. Jane Re, orphaned daughter of a Korean mother and American GI father, is sent from Korea to live with her aunt and uncle in Flushing, Queens. Her life mirrors Jane Eyre's in many ways: living with family who make her feel like a burden; a job as a nanny for a wealthy family, in Brooklyn, complete with a wife who uses the attic apartment of their brownstone as a home office; and a flight to Korea after a doomed love affair in New York ends poorly.

Park's adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's novel is smart and effective, despite an overabundance of asides addressed to "Reader." But Re Jane finds its strongest footing in its deviations from the original, as Park explores Jane Re's complicated and often lonely existence as a biracial immigrant in Flushing unable to find work after college, the shifting landscape of New York following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Jane Re's fierce desire to shape her own future, without the meddling of her aunt and uncle, her family in Korea or the advice of the lover she fled. Avid fans of Brontë's original and those completely unfamiliar with the Victorian novel will find much to love in Re Jane, a modern-day love story with a fierce heroine who is determined to be her own woman, no matter the costs. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Discover: A Korean American re-telling of Jane Eyre in 21st-century New York.

Pamela Dorman Books, $27.95, hardcover, 9780525427407

I Take You

by Eliza Kennedy

Eliza Kennedy's debut novel, I Take You, isn't a polite or cozy affair--although it boasts plenty of affairs. The brazen lead character, associate attorney Lily Wilder, adores sex, and she's not afraid to pick up (and bed down) any man she chooses, whether he is her silver-haired boss or the best man at her upcoming nuptials. That's right: Lily is engaged to a smart, loving, sexy man, who knows nothing of her indiscretions.

This premise results in a wickedly funny juggernaut of a novel that begins in New York and continues in Lily's hometown of Key West, Fla., one week before her wedding. While Lily struggles with the notion of training her sexual impulses on just one man, a train wreck of a case at her law firm is getting her in deep water professionally. Then, tension in Lily's dysfunctional family comes to a boiling point when she realizes her philandering father may be cheating on his fifth wife with one of his exes. So with a family history of indiscretions in one hand and a stiff drink in the other, she wonders if she should just call off the wedding.

I Take You's intriguing story, deftly drawn characters and uproariously funny dialogue will, much like Lily's many paramours, enjoyably occupy readers for hours. Lily, together with her acid-tongued bestie, stampedes through the book, cutting loose like a reckless college student on spring break, while spitting out pithy one-liners and pulling outlandish stunts to avoid repercussions. She may lack virtue but she offers a ton of laughs as she barrels through her many escapades. --Natalie Papailiou, author of blog MILF: Mother I'd Like to Friend

Discover: A wickedly funny novel about a woman who sleeps with any man to whom she's attracted. Too bad she's getting married next week.

Crown, $24, hardcover, 9780553417821

The Ladies of Managua

by Eleni N. Gage

Maria Vazquez's family history is complicated. Her father, a Sandinista revolutionary, was gunned down when Maria was four months old, leaving a profound gap in her life. Her grandmother Isabela primarily raised Maria in Miami, while her mother, Ninexin, was off rebuilding the post-revolution Nicaraguan government.

Maria has always felt distant from her intense and hard-working mother, and close to her beloved Bela. She reveled in the stories of Isabela's high society childhood and years of New Orleans boarding school, until Maria moved to New York City in pursuit of an arts career. When her grandfather dies, Maria returns to Managua for his funeral, an occasion that reunites her with Isabela and Ninexin. The three grieving women, each hiding a secret, finally confront surprising details of the past and the possibilities of the future.

Chapters are told alternately from the perspective of each woman, weaving together dramatically different narratives, and letting the reader see events from multiple angles. Covering high society New Orleans, Sandinista jungle camps and exile in Miami and New York City, The Ladies of Managua spans a fascinating range of locations and times. Ninexin's reserve, Isabela's propriety and Maria's passion make for entertaining interactions, and the lush Nicaraguan setting adds an appealing layer of interest. In The Ladies of Managua, Eleni N. Gage (Other Waters) has again combined a strong heroine and captivating setting in a winning novel. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

Discover: An elegant grandmother, a revolutionary daughter and an artistic granddaughter are forced to confront their Nicaraguan family's many secrets.

St. Martin's Press, $26.99, hardcover, 9781250058645

Mystery & Thriller

The Acolyte

by Nick Cutter

Ultra-conservative Christian zealots rule a dystopic future United States called the New Republic. The Divine Council appoints Prophets to lead cities with names like New Jericho, New Nazareth and New Beersheba. Modern medicine is banned, followers of other major religions are imprisoned in penniless ghettos, currency and length are measured in shekels and cubits, sins are expiated with animal sacrifices and worship at SuperChurch is mandatory. These oppressive commandments are enforced in part by the Faith Crimes Unit, police special forces also known as Acolytes.

Jonah Murtag is an Acolyte in New Bethlehem. He patrols the city with two partners, investigates faith crimes like membership in banned religious sects or possession of heretical artifacts, and dishes out violence in the name of the New Republic. The Acolytes are used to Muslim suicide bombings, but a new wave of attacks in New Bethlehem puts the city on edge. And something else is wrong: the bombers are fellow New Republican Followers. Murtag's loyalty is questioned and his faith shaken when he fails to protect the Prophet's daughter from a bombing.

Nick Cutter (The Troop; The Deep), a pen name of Toronto novelist and short story author Craig Davidson, combines creepy speculative fiction with crime thriller in The Acolyte. Though the New Republic is sometimes farcically overblown (streets named after Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson feel jarringly comedic), the world is overall successful. Murtag's growing crisis of faith makes him an intriguing protagonist. The Acolyte is an entertainingly disturbing read. --Tobias Mutter, freelance reviewer

Discover: A policeman fights faith crime in a dystopian future America controlled by conservative Christians.

ChiZine Publications, $16.99, paperback, 9781771483285

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Day Shift

by Charlaine Harris

Manfred Bernardo, phone psychic and recent transplant to Midnight, Tex., is back in this second volume of Charlaine Harris's new series about the supernatural denizens of one tiny town.

Day Shift is an even stronger novel than the first enjoyable entry in the series, Midnight Crossroad, with a streamlined, well-paced story about a client's mysterious death during one of Bernardo's séances. The dead woman's son accuses Bernardo of stealing his mother's jewelry, and it's up to Bernardo and his friends in the weird town of Midnight to find the jewels and clear his name.

Everyone in Midnight has something to hide, and media attention focused on the murder investigation is not making anyone there happy. With fewer characters to introduce as in the first book, Harris gets to provide a glimpse of several supporting characters' secrets, including those of Reverend Sheehan and his new young charge; gay couple and angelic town protectors Joe and Chuy; and bad-ass vampire-lover Olivia Charity, who gets a lot of attention in this novel as she helps Bernardo find out who really killed his client.

Add in some weretigers and a telepathic grandson--with ties to Harris's other famous character, Sookie Stackhouse--and Day Shift is a fun way to spend some downtime. Harris has a talent for interesting and engaging characters, and Day Shift is full of them, going about their daily supernatural lives in this one-stoplight town. --Rob LeFebvre, freelance writer and editor

Discover: Charlaine Harris offers a engaging read set in the same universe as her True Blood series.

Ace, $27.95, hardcover, 9780425263198


Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles

by Bernard Cornwell

Historical novelist Bernard Cornwell, author of the popular Richard Sharpe and Saxon Tales series as well as numerous standalone novels, makes his first foray into nonfiction with Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles.

Published in time for the Battle of Waterloo's 200th anniversary, Cornwell's account features the powerful storytelling and carefully chosen details that characterize his fiction. Although he emphasizes that confusion is inherent to battle, he presents the confusion experienced on the field at Waterloo to his readers with utter clarity. He rests his story on the viewpoints of individuals present at each stage of the battle, including Napoleon and Wellington, using letters, journals and memoirs by ordinary soldiers and officers from all three armies engaged on the field. Each chapter opens with a useful map of the action discussed--a luxury military history buffs will appreciate.

Cornwell begins the book with the question "Why another book on Waterloo?" Others may ask, "Why another book by Cornwell on Waterloo?" (He explored the subject previously in the novel Sharpe's Waterloo.) The answer lies in the writing. It is true that Cornwell's Waterloo is not a work of innovative scholarship--it doesn't present new insights or use new materials. Instead, it is a splendid example of historical narrative, as Cornwell himself describes the book at the end of his foreword: "So here it is again, the story of a battle." And a gripping story at that. --Pamela Toler, blogging at History in the Margins

Discover: The history of the Battle of Waterloo told by a master storyteller.

Harper, $35, hardcover, 9780062312051

Business & Economics

Under the Bus: How Working Women Are Being Run Over

by Caroline Fredrickson

Since Sheryl Sandberg's 2013 book, Lean In, much of the conversation around women in the workforce has centered on women taking charge of their work--or opting out of it. But these conversations fail to account for the vast majority of women who don't have that choice: they work because they must in order to survive, or they stay home to care for children because childcare is cost-prohibitive. Caroline Fredrickson's book, Under the Bus, is a study of this class of working--or not working--women in the United States, providing an important perspective in what is often falsely seen as a binary argument: Sandberg's push to "lean in" versus Anne-Marie Slaughter's observation in The Atlantic that women can't have it all and must "opt out" of opportunities.

Frederickson, president of the American Constitution Society, starts Under the Bus with important historical context, providing a brief background on the labor laws of the United States today. "A confluence of factors," she argues, "including race, ethnicity, immigration status, and gender, has put an array of workers beyond the protections of the law." She then argues that current laws have disproportionately harmed women--particularly women of color--and resulted in unfair wages, loss of benefits and a distinct lack of support for those women who choose to have children.

Much of Fredrickson's argument is data-heavy, but Under the Bus is never dry. Instead, this collection of numbers and anecdotes serves to illustrate how far systemic policy change could go in creating equal opportunity across the board--improving working situations for women (and men). --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm

Discover: A study of low-income working women that gives context to the "lean in"/"opt out" approach to the employment rights debate.

The New Press, $25.95, hardcover, 9781620970102

Parenting & Family

Good Dog, Happy Baby: Preparing Your Dog for the Arrival of Your Child

by Michael Wombacher

In the past few decades, dogs have been elevated "from the backyard to the bedroom," becoming surrogate children for many. But when a baby enters the picture, most parents need help with the transition: 80% of the 4.7 million people a year who suffer dog bites in the United States are children under five. In Good Dog, Happy Baby, Michael Wombacher (who has performed more than 20,000 in-home behavioral consultations) believes these unfortunate incidents can be prevented with proper preparation.

Wombacher's training philosophy balances positive reinforcement with behavior modification: "There is so much at stake, and limiting the range of approaches with which to address the situation, in favor of only one training philosophy, seems unfair." In addition to rewards, he covers a variety of deterrents as well, including squirt bottles, penny cans and even pinch collars.

However, before presenting behavior modifications, Wombacher helps readers assess their dog's temperament, socialization and rank management needs. The Doggie 12-Step Program then resolves any existing issues with feeding and sleeping arrangements, basic obedience, leash walking manners, etc. Wombacher also recommends managing problems like resource guarding, separation anxiety, excessive barking and overprotective behavior well before the baby's arrival. His many concrete suggestions include decreasing attention before the due date--and then increasing attention to the dog only when the baby is present, familiarizing the dog with crawling behavior and using a doll to introduce parental body language before the baby's homecoming. The goal is for the dog to welcome the baby's addition to the family as much as the parents do. --Kristen Galles from Book Club Classics

Discover: Concrete strategies to help dogs accept a new baby.

New World Library, $18.95, hardcover, 9781608683499

Children's & Young Adult

Saint Anything

by Sarah Dessen

In Sarah Dessen's (Along for the Ride) 12th novel, she offers a nuanced portrayal of a young woman who has always felt invisible and secondary to her blazing star of a brother. After he's incarcerated, she still lives her life in his shadow, and in finding her own path, she finds herself.

Sydney is accustomed to her brother Peyton's outsized personality. She has accepted his charm, his good looks and, later, even his tragic mistake, which lands him in prison for drunk driving and which has paralyzed a young boy. Unable to express her grief to her parents, Sydney remains quietly seething, feeling guilty for her brother's crimes, and increasingly uncomfortable with her brother's friend's advances. With the help of a new school, new friends and ultimately her first love, Sydney is able to find confidence, and begin healing herself and her fractured family.

Dessen's insightful characterizations have always been her strength. Sydney, a rather privileged teen who nevertheless is suffering, is unable to penetrate her parent's grief and their focus on her brother. The adults, too, suffer, and Dessen examines the pain of the whole family, even the brother in prison, who finally learns humility and remorse. Dessen portrays two families with different kinds of challenges, but shows the power and frailty within each of them. Without wrapping up the plot too neatly, the story ends on a hopeful note toward redemption.

For all those teens who feel like an outsider without a voice, Saint Anything will provide a satisfying story of forgiveness and acceptance. --Nan Shipley, literary scout

Discover: In her latest novel, Dessen proves once again her ability to take readers inside a modern world filled with pain, self-discovery and, ultimately, redemption.

Viking, $19.99, hardcover, 432p., ages 12-up, 9780451474704

Everybody Sleeps (but Not Fred)

by Josh Schneider

A blond boy in blue-striped pajamas does his best not to succumb to sleep in Everybody Sleeps (but Not Fred), Josh Schneider's (The Meanest Birthday Girl) comical spin on the classic late-night holdout.

Fred has things to do, and his list of 100 items proves it. While his bulldog, cat and mouse slumber, he stands before the S.S. Insomnia, equipped with props to accomplish his goals. "Ignoring snoring striped hyenas,/ monkeys dream they're ballerinas./ But not Fred," writes Schneider. The pink tutu–clad primates continue to make cameo appearances as species in various settings hit the hay, and Fred stays up late. As Fred spies on a farm, where "chickens doze" and "pigs nod off in stinky rows," a tutu pops above a pig's behind. Schneider sends up clichés such as "counting sheep" by having them "count themselves, and fall asleep" (a tally appears on a clipboard hanging from the barn wall). Other amusing visual touches include a plush chicken staring wide-eyed from the coop and a real chicken sporting a pink eye mask. Youngsters will soon realize that the players in these bedtime-postponing scenes are toys in the boy's room. Finally, a book of poetry sends Fred off to slumber.

But wait--could Schneider be implying (in a metafictional way) that this very book might be what puts Fred out? "[P]lease, for now don't make a peep./ Just close the book and let Fred sleep," says the text, as a monkey, pig and chicken exit stage right. A great way to wind down the day. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A comical spin on the classic late-night holdout.

Clarion/HMH, $16.99, hardcover, 32p., ages 4-8, 9780544339248

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