Once Upon a Time, the End - (asleep in 60 seconds)

Reviewed: June 22, 2006
By: Geoffrey Kloske / art by Barry Blitt
Publisher: Athenaeum Books
34 pages, $22.95

The thing about reading books to your children just before they go to bed is that it often happens at the point in the day when your own energies are at a low ebb. The end result is that you are often as sleepy as the kids are by the time you finish, and you may actually be forcing your eyes to track the words during the last few pages.

Kloske and Blitt have chronicled this daily crisis beautifully in Once Upon a Time, to Bed. Dad keeps drifting off, so he begins cutting down the stories to their absolute essentials, and then to edit them so that they go to the point:

Hickory, dickory dock,

A mouse ran up the clock

The clock struck eight

Oh my, itís late!

So the mouse went straight to bed.

or

Knock-knock.

Who's there?

Bed.

Bed who?

Bedder go to sleep.

The concept is clever. The writing of the 17 abbreviated classics is, well, crisp and ... short. The illustrations are funny.

On that note, I should go to bed myself.