Lights out, little dragon! by Debra Tidball & Rae Tan

cover image

A book to read last thing at night, encouraging sleepy heads, especially those dressed in their dragon pyjamas, that it is time for bed.

Told from the child’s perspective, the little dragon simply will not go to bed, the young child asking for help from the reading audience. They have put the sheep away and swatted all the questions to one side. The next step is to yawn and encourage Little Dragon to yawn as well.  In bed at last, but Little Dragon’s tummy needs to be scratched. His flame is tickling his throat and so a glass of water is required, but Little Dragon is sent to the bathroom instead to use the tap. But he uses something else to get his drink! Toilet paper being great fun. Next Little Dragon’s dinosaur is missing and must be found. At last they are in bed, Little Dragon snuggling down with his dinosaur. But no, a story must be read. Well, off to sleep, but it is too light, and reaching up to turn off the light the room becomes too dark. The child kisses the Little Dragon goodnight and someone’s eyes spring open. This delightfully entertaining book about the perils of getting a child to sleep, is told from a child’s perspective, trying to get his dragon to sleep. All attention is on the Little Dragon who tries every trick to remain awake and avoid sleeping. 

Told with lots of humour, encouraging children to see what their parents do each night, the fresh perspective will be highly amusing to those whose bedtime is a nightly trial. Excuses are trotted out, causing exasperation from the child, reminiscent of that felt by adults.

Lovely illustrations by newcomer, Rae Tan add another level of humour to the tale, while at the same time endearing the child and the dragon to the readers. I love the endpapers with their sketches of the animals, and I love the way Tan has used several sketches of the dragon, tumbling over themselves as it avoids sleep. Kids will love the images of a perplexed child, wondering what else can be done to get the dragon to sleep, and the images of the child in bed with the dragon are simply wonderful. Younger readers will love seeing the Little Dragon and its machinations at avoiding bed and sympathise with its attempts to remain out of bed. And they will love looking at the detail in the bedroom.

Themes: Sleep, Bedtime, Dragons, Dinosaurs.

Fran Knight