cover image Everybody Sleeps (But Not Fred)

Everybody Sleeps (But Not Fred)

Josh Schneider. Clarion, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-33924-8

A boy named Fred is too busy to fall asleep in this bedtime-book send-up from the always hilarious Schneider (Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover). In ironic lilting verse, Schneider describes one somnolent scene after another as birds and beasts call it a night (“In the jungle, toucans snooze./ Also sloths and cockatoos./ Ignoring snoring striped hyenas,/ monkeys dream they’re ballerinas”). “But not Fred. Fred had important jumping to do,” he continues as the boy sails over the heads of grimacing, tutu-clad monkeys. Fred disrupts slumbering barnyard animals by “breaking the world shouting record” (he’s seen performing on a speakers-laden stage fit for a Kiss concert), and sea creatures get a rude awakening when Fred arrives on the S.S. Insomnia to test his tubas and alpenhorns. From visual gags like jellyfish in sleep masks (Do they even have eyes?) to verse mocking soporific picture-book rhymes (“Sleepy bunnies blah blah blah/ Fluffy tummies blah blah blah”), it’s a pitch-perfect parody. Sorry, parents: kids will be too busy laughing to get sleepy reading this one. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Apr.) [/em]