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The Picture Book Buzz

Time for Bed, Old House - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

I remember many fun weekends spent with my grandparents. Though I can't remember ever worrying about sleeping there, I can remember many a creative "trick" that my grandfather pulled to get us to do things - all in the name of fun, of course. I adore the loving, understanding, and gentle nature of Isaac's Grandpop and their special relationship. This is both a great bedtime book and a fun, new bedtime routine.

Time for Bed, Old House

Author: Janet Costa Bates

Illustrator: A.G. Ford

Publisher: Candlewick (2021)

Ages: 3-7



Bedtime, intergenerational, sleep overs, fears, worries, and humor.


Isaac is excited about having a sleepover at Grandpop’s house, but he’s a little nervous about being away from home for the first time. Luckily, his knowing Grandpop tells him it’s not quite time to go to bed yet—first, he needs Isaac’s help in putting the house to bed. Quietly and slowly, they move from room to room, turning out lights and pulling down shades, as Grandpop gently explains the nighttime sounds that Isaac finds unfamiliar. Now it’s time to read the house a bedtime story (Isaac is good at reading the pictures). By the time the house is settled in for the night, Isaac and Grandpop are ready for bed, too. Janet Costa Bates’s tender story and A. G. Ford’s cozy illustrations will have families—and extended families or friends—eager to take a wise Grandpop’s cue and embrace a new nighttime tradition.

Opening Lines:

Isaac loved the new pajamas he got for his first

sleepover at Grandpop’s house. He loved laughing and

playing with Grandpop. But he didn’t love the thought

of sleeping away from home.

What I LOVED about this book:

Everything about a night at Grandpop's is fun and exciting, until it's time for bed. Although Grandpop accepts Isaac's claim of not being sleepy, he insists that "it’s time to put the house to bed." Ooh, who ever knew houses needed to be put to bed! Janet Costa Bates has created such a fun and gentle, new bed time game (routine).

Text © Janet Costa Bates, 2021. Image © A.G. Ford, 2021.

A.G. Ford's deep warm hues and detailed, life-like watercolor illustrations create such a gorgeous and cozy setting. They perfectly capture the loving, playful relationship of Isaac and Grandpop, as the two tiptoe through the house turning out lights & closing blinds. I love how as they both quiet, noises become amplified and A.G. Ford highlights Isaac's fear of the clicks (the dog's toenails) and squeaks (the swing set outside) with big splashes of purple.

Text © Janet Costa Bates, 2021. Image © A.G. Ford, 2021.

I also love those adorable pjs, monster slippers, and snuggly bear. After Grandpop equates the house's creaks to Isaac's own yawns and snores, Isaac, Grandpop, and Snuffles all snuggle up to read the house a bedtime story. Encouraged to read the pictures, Isaac tells a story of a boy and a snowy day. Though, having put Grandpop to sleep, it's up to Isaac to finish putting the old house to bed.

Text © Janet Costa Bates, 2021. Image © A.G. Ford, 2021.

Janet and A.G. wrap up this book with a perfectly gentle, sigh-inducing ending. One with empowerment and a subtle touch of humor. It's a wonderful intergenerational story of a compassionate and loving relationship. As well as a fun new twist on dealing with fearful or reluctant children at bedtime; one that could be used for sleepovers, scary storms, or other unsettling moments in a child's life. Although there are many bedtime books, this one is truly a gorgeous treasure.


- make your own origami "Old House" ( and read it a story each night at bedtime.

- do you have any fun bedtime routines? Make a list or draw a picture of what you do at home, and/or during a sleep over before bed.

- if you have a pet, have you ever heard your pet snore? What did it sound like? Do you think you snore?

- do you have a favorite book or two you like to read before bed?

If you missed it, be sure to check out Monday's interview with Janet Costa Bates and A.G. Ford (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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