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Park In The Dark


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Together Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth have won the 1988 Smarties Book Prize and the Kate Greenaway Medal for "Can't You Sleep Little Bear?" and the 1989 Kurt Maschler Award for "The Park in the Dark". Martin Waddell won the Smarties Book Prize for "Farmer Duck" and Barbara Firth was shortlisted for the Smarties Book Prize for "A Song for Little Toad".

About the Author

Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth have worked together on a number of picture books: Can't You Sleep, Little Bear? (Winner of the 1988 Smarties Book Prize and the Kate Greenaway Medal); Let's Go Home, Little Bear; You and Me, Little Bear; Well Done, Little Bear; We Love Them; Sam Vole and His Brothers; and Tom Rabbit. Martin Waddell won the Smarties Book Prize a second time for Farmer Duck and Barbara Firth was shortlisted for the same award for A Song for Little Toad.


K-Gr 2-- A picture book told in rhyme about the adventures of three stuffed animals. The narrator, a large toy orangutan, is joined by a floppy-eared elephant and a small spotted dog. Together, ``me and Loopy and Little Gee'' leave their sleeping, human owner for the park. While swinging and sliding, they are interrupted by a THING which sends them scurrying home, ``where we ought to be.'' The illustrations--double-spread, frameless beauties in soft watercolors--communicate the friendship of the animals during their nighttime escapade. The language, while evocative and poetic, could be confusing to children who may not understand ruined mills and ``withers that wobble.'' Children will recognize the depth of the friendship shared by the toy animals, and the protective stance of the largest creature for the smallest. The book succeeds primarily because of its illustrations. It offers a chance to share in the shadows cast in the city by bright moonlight. It's a good choice to share with a fair-sized group of kindergarteners or first graders, and a nice addition to nighttime theme books such as Rice's Goodnight, Goodnight (Greenwillow, 1980) and Memling's What's in the Dark? (Parents, 1971; o.p.) --Reva Pitch Margolis, Norwood School, N.J.

"A picture of childhood which is beautiful and true... A lovely book and a sure winner with any child lucky enough to encounter it." The Junior Bookshelf; "Absolutely wonderful... A perfect picture book." Chris Powling, BBC Radio's Bookshelf

``Me and Loopy and Little Gee,'' are the stuffed animals (a monkey, an elephant and a puppy) who make their way to the park each night after their young owner has gone to sleep. Out the window, through alleys, across light-swept streets they travel, and only Little Gee is afraid. And then, the ``Thing'' comes--a train passing the park--and the three scamper home before first light. The graceful mood of the text contrasts aptly with the playful postures of the toys, who take care of each other like three siblings--the bigger one carries the smaller, and they buck up each other's courage. Firth washes her pictures with soft blues and other dusty colors, rendering each dark corner safe. The abrupt ending feels forced, but that's easily forgiven. These three friends make the nighttime world a welcome place. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)

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