“It was a dark and stormy night on Plum Street”
The wind is howling outside the little white house on Plum Street as Sam goes to bed. Mrs Bear is putting him down for the night and asks him if he is ready to sleep. “Oh no,” is always his answer, “I’m waiting!” He has a story, a glass of milk, has his blanket tucked round him and all his toy friends popped in with him, but still he is not ready. Mrs Bear is (or pretends to be) confused, until she finally remembers. “Oh I know. Kiss goodnight Sam.”
This is a story about security, safety, love and ritual at bedtime. The noises of the rain and the wind outside serve to heighten the sense of warmth inside the little house, and Anita Jeram’s rich illustrations in cosy gold, red and brown complement that perfectly. The text, by Amy Hest, is lyrical without rhyming, and its undulating rhythm captures the tenderness of Mrs Bear.
“Mrs Bear poured milk in two glasses and they both drank milk and it was warm sliding down.”
When she finally remembers what he is waiting for the story becomes almost interactive.
“And she bent way down, kissing Sam once, and twice, and then twice more.
“Again!” cried Sam.
And she bent way down, kissing Sam once, and twice, and then twice more.”
It is almost impossible not to suit the action to the word at this point, and for children who are reluctant to go to bed this walk-through of the process may be especially effective. And nearly all toddlers will love being kissed in kind as they hear the words!
As a bedtime story this is ideal: short, gentle, on topic, and ending with a kiss. Nothing fancy or clever, but perfect for its purpose.