Book review: Beep Beep Beep Time for Sleep!, by Claire Freedman, illustrated by Richard Smythe

Freedman, Claire. Illustrated by Richard Smythe. Beep Beep Beep Time for Sleep! Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2017. $17.99. ISBN 9781481490115. Unp. Ages 4-7. P7 Q 7

Beep Beep Beep Time for Sleep! tells the story of drowsy construction equipment after a long day of roadwork. Freedman uses formal rhyming couplets to establish a familiar children’s book meter. She often bolds verbs and verb phrases for visual emphasis. Many of the verbs are onomatopoeias, describing the specific job done by each piece of equipment. In addition to common construction vehicles, like the backhoe and dump truck, we are introduced to the lesser-known grader and roadroller. The illustrations are a stark departure from the whimsical watercolors found on Smythe’s earlier books. The workers and their trucks are rendered in an angular style that is quite uncharacteristic of Smythe. Then again, he is most commonly tasked with representing the natural world, not a construction site. At the beginning of the book, the illustrations are bright with lots of primary colors. As the story progresses, the colors darken as the machinery and workers become increasingly slumberous. However, he does accurately include both female and male construction workers.

Verdict: The rhyming couplets and bolded verb phrases make the book a fun read-aloud. Progressively darkening illustrations encourage the drowsy young reader. Any child with an interest in trucks or heavy equipment will enjoy this title.

May 2017 review by Lillian Curanzy.

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