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'What You Never Knew About Beds, Bedrooms, and Pajamas'          Send a link to a friend

[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

Review by
Louella Moreland

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 accessories.

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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 Louella Moreland, Lincoln Public Library District]


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