Marvelous New Picture Books Monday: I Just Want to Say Good Night by Rachel Isadora

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I Just Want to Say Good Night is Rachel Isadora’s nuanced take on the traditional bedtime tale. This book follows Lala, who lives on the African veld, as she desperately tries to avoid bedtime. Before she goes to bed, she insists, she must say goodnight to the fish, the cat, the bird, the goat, the monkey, the chickens, the ants, and her dog. She finishes out this ritual by saying goodnight to her book: Goodnight Moon.

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Isadora’s writing style uses repetition and short phrases to make the narrative flow with a comfortable, soothing rhythm. This book perfectly captures a curious, energetic and spirited young child’s reluctance to end the day.

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The oil painting illustrations provide a vivid and harmonious backdrop for the story. Isadora uses oil paintings to create the African veld, blending and swirling colors together in a way that audiences both young and old will find compelling and soothing. The images shift throughout the book from bright, warm color tones (yellows, oranges, pinks) to dark, cooler tones, (blues, greens, browns) echoing the story’s transition from daytime to nighttime.

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I Just Want to Say Good Night is a beautifully warm and comforting bedtime tale. Isadora’s striking oil paintings perfectly echo the story’s tone and are captivating without being overstimulating. This book would be perfect for parents and young children to share as an end to the day.

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