'What You Never Knew About Beds, Bedrooms, and Pajamas'
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[July 18, 2007]
"What You Never Knew About
Beds, Bedrooms, and Pajamas," by Patricia Lauber, illustrated by John Manders,
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 32 pages, ages 8-11
Anyone over the age of 30 probably remembers nonfiction children's
literature as pretty dry, dull stuff. There were certain books we may have
dusted off the covers of because we had a certain interest in the subject or
because we had a dreaded nonfiction report as a school assignment, but read
a nonfiction book because it looked like fun? Forget it!
Thank goodness that view is no longer accurate! Nonfiction children's
literature of today can be a walk through a Saturday morning cartoon, with
lots of very interesting information forming the basis of the entertainment.
The facts are solid and quite useful for report writing, but the
presentation is no longer dull. The use of sidebars, bibliographies, author
notes, easy-to-understand sections and the connection to a child's world of
today can make many subjects so interesting that young readers choose these
books because they look like so much fun. Illustrations pop off the pages,
often using speech balloons that tickle the funny bone, with ridiculous
characters and situations based entirely on facts.
One of the best new releases is "What You Never Knew About Beds,
Bedrooms, and Pajamas," by Patricia Lauber. This short picture book is
packed with 30 pages of facts about these subjects from the Stone Age to
present day. Interesting fonts begin paragraphs, organizing the text into
easy-to-read, easy-to-understand sections. As she takes us on a journey
through time, we see the advancement of sleeping arrangements and
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Using siblings who argue and animals that appear to know more
than their human masters, illustrator John Manders gives us glimpses
of life from other times that seem not so different from our own
experiences. My favorite illustration occurs twice, once as early
Egyptians and the other as shoppers from the 1700s. It shows a
couple looking for a new bed. The wife is fascinated as they see the
newest model; the husband wants to know the cost; and the salesman
proclaims the beds are so popular there are only two left.
Lauber explains the transition of sleeping arrangements from
outdoors with large groups in the Stone Age, to single-family
dwellings and private bedrooms after the Middle Ages, to modern
camping (outdoors) and preteen sleepovers (large groups.) Readers
will be asking themselves, "Have we really come such a long way?!"
Whether we have advanced or not, "What You Never Knew About Beds,
Bedrooms, and Pajamas" is an interesting book that might answer some
questions children may have asked, while providing an entertaining
book to read and share.
To check out this book or other nonfiction books that entertain
as well as explain, come and let us recommend something at the
Lincoln Public Library, 725 Pekin St.
[Text from file received from
Lincoln Public Library District]