Way Past Bedtime (Tara Lazar)

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Hello, friends! Our book today is Way Past Bedtime, written by Tara Lazar and illustrated by Rich Wake, a fun fantasy that ponders a perennial childhood question: just what do parents DO past bedtime?

Tonight is the night, and Joseph is ready. He’s even oddly eager to go to bed, causing his parents to pat themselves on the backs for their superior bedtime skills. Little do they know, however, that Joseph is onto them, and tonight, his plan springs into action: he’s going to find out what happens PAST BEDTIME! He has his theories of course, centered around the rollicking, rowdy party that he’s sure they must throw: an incredible bash with six DJs, hot fudge fountains, and show-stopping mariachi performances. When the moment is right, he springs into action, putting on his invisibility clock (a blanket) and creeping past the guard (his sister). Spying mom and dad with his (cardboard) night vision goggles from atop the stairs, he sees that they’re… asleep? Fuming at them about the lack of party, his parents wake and laugh at his wild imagination, then return him to bed… but not before the audience glimpses a few clues that Joseph may not be so far off base after all…

Colorful and fun. The premise is one of those great, timeless childhood questions, and little readers will surely appreciate Joseph’s frustrations and laugh at his incredibly creative fantasies about the after-bedtime bash (which includes ninjas, puppets, magicians, celebrities, and more). Similarly, there are some great nods to the parents as well, and the clever illustrations do a great job of balancing big set-pieces and wacky characters with witty details. My only complaint is the ending, which feels a little abrupt and vague (though it’s hard to describe without spoiling the final twist). Still, the length was fine and JJ enjoyed the silly party scenes, so we can call this one Baby Bookworm approved!

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