The Big Bed

by Bunmi Laditan (Author) Tom Knight (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

From Bunmi Laditan, the creator of the Honest Toddler blog, The Big Bed is a humorous picture book about a girl who doesn't want to sleep in her little bed, so she presents her dad with his own bed--a camping cot!--in order to move herself into her parents' big bed in his place.

A twist on the classic parental struggle of not letting kids sleep in their bed.

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Publishers Weekly

Laditan brings the honesty and cheeky humor of her Honest Toddler books, blog, and tweets to her first picture book. Her prickly, precocious heroine is fiercely possessive of her mother ("No one can deny that Mommy is full of cozies and smells like fresh bread"), and she decides that the family bed has gotten far too small. There's no way the girl is going to stay in her own bed--she's afraid of the dark--so she offers her father an ultimatum disguised as a sales pitch, complete with visual aids and fake empathy ("Daddy, I see you. I hear you"). But wait, there's more: Dad can sleep on a cot right next to the bed ("You'll feel like an honorary park ranger and look like one, too!"). Knight's cartoons alternatively flatter and tickle readers with the girl's misplaced confidence, and his images reveal that Mommy and Daddy are a united, even bemused, front. Laditan's story doesn't so much end as abruptly stop, but many families will identify with her heroine's I-mean-business attitude. Ages 4-6. Illustrator's agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright Group. (Feb.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-K--A young girl tries to negotiate with her dad about who should sleep in the "big bed." She approaches her father as if she were the boss of a company. She acts as if she is offering him a deal by providing him with alternative sleeping arrangements in exchange for his place in the "big bed." The child's ideas are captured and illustrated in wavy thought bubbles. Her proposals are interesting and she attempts to back them with facts to support her conclusions. Her approach as a negotiator and figure of authority is further alluded to with the presence of an easel, a lab coat, a pointer, photographs, and various diagrams. The young girl speaks in an adult tone with authoritative phrasing. However, her childlike point of view is evident through the nature of her dialogue. Important phrases are emphasized with cursive writing throughout the narrative. The book's cartoon illustrations feature curvy and straight lines used to create texture and dimension. The circular eyes of the characters become a focal point throughout the book. The book is filled with an array of brightly colored monochromatic backgrounds that are interchanged with white backgrounds which gives the book a fun and unpredictable feel. VERDICT This quirky and humorous bedtime book could be used to encourage children to explain their ideas in unique ways. It could also be used to encourage them to support their ideas with evidence.--Deanna Smith, formerly at Mamaroneck Public Library, NY

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

A smart, charmingly manipulative kid trying to get what she wants makes for a fun (and diverse!) story that both children and adults can enjoy.—Kirkus Reviews

This quirky and humorous bedtime book could be used to encourage children to explain their ideas in unique ways. It could also be used to encourage them to support their ideas with evidence. —School Library Journal

Laditan's arch and committed formality, punctuated with colloquialism for effective contrast, is supremely funny...Parents and children alike will snicker at this new take on the bedtime book.—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB)

Every page is laugh-out-loud funny, as Laditan, with Knight's expressive illustrations, expertly presents the girl's matter-of-fact business approach.—Booklist

Bunmi Laditan

Bunmi Laditan is the creator of the popular blog Honest Toddler. She is also the author of humorous parenting books for adults: The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting and The Honest Toddler: How to be a Better Parental Servant. She lives with her family in Canada.

Tom Knight is an illustrator, a player of stringed instruments, and an aspiring fixer of broken boats. He lives with his wife and two sons in England.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
Publication date
February 20, 2018
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV010000 - Juvenile Fiction | Bedtime & Dreams
JUV013060 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Parents
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
Library of Congress categories
African Americans
Parent and child

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