Back to Bed, Ed!
A young mouse named Ed loves bedtime rituals, from bath time to story time to getting tucked in—it's the actual staying in his bed that he can't stand. Tired of dealing with their offspring-interloper (and just plain tired from having their sleep interrupted), Mom and Dad put a “Closed” sign on the bedroom door. But it's only after Ed himself comes up with a solution—packing his bed with all his stuffed animal pals—that he's able to stay put without a fuss. Braun's (On Our Way Home ) reportorial tone (“The next morning they slept through the alarm. Dad was late for work. Ed was late for preschool”) establishes a calm but sympathetic mood for an anxiety-ridden subject, while his sturdy-looking, boldly colored cartoon vignettes provide plenty of visual reassurance, even when the emotional stakes are high. Most important, Braun ties the resolution to Ed's own ingenuity, and makes it clear that being able to comfort oneself doesn't just make life easier for everyone—it also represents an impressive (and enviable) leap forward. Ages 2–6. (Feb.)