The sun is down.

The moon is up.

It is bedtime for the little Princess.

But outside the castle…”

Outside the castle all kinds of noisy things are happening. A dragon is roaring,  knights are clanking, ghosts are ‘ooo-ooo-oooing’ and “the trolls and the goblins are guzzling and gobbling and slurping and burping.”  But the Princess is trying to sleep, so all these people need to be told to ‘SHHH!’

Part prose, part poetry, this unusual book is an enjoyable read.  As each character is asked to ‘shh’ they query ‘Who me?’ and the answer is ‘Yes you!’  Mick Inkpen varies it slightly each time whilst preserving the rhythm and rhyme.  Our favourite is the giant: “Should I take off my boots? Yes, do!” There is also plenty of onomatopoeia and a lot of noisy participles which are brilliant for small children.  Eventually all the shushing wakes up the princess who needs a lullaby to go back to sleep, and there is a funny little twist at the end too.

The illustrations are as detailed and sweet as you would expect from Mick Inkpen and the foldout pages (to reveal the character’s guilty faces) are an unusual and effective feature.  Children will love listing to the sound of the story, especially all the repetition, and it’s not so long as to be tedious for an adult to read.

A creative enjoyable read for children who like the sound of words.

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