Time for Bed, Old House

by Janet Costa Bates (Author) A G Ford (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

At Isaac's first sleepover, he gets to help Grandpop with a very special routine--putting the house to bed--in a story that's just right for children visiting a new place, or for adopting a new ritual at home. 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.

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Kirkus Reviews

Isaac's first-sleepover story is honest and one that young children will appreciate; adult readers will find it nostalgic. A delightful multigenerational story, perfect for bedtime or anytime a child is afraid.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 2--There are many ways to get a child ready for bedtime, from a simple story and lights out to other, more serious efforts at creativity. Isaac is excited to spend time with his grandfather, but nervous about sleeping away from home for the first time. Clever Grandpop has the just the right idea to ease the child's fears. He asks him to help put the house to bed first. Although Isaac has little idea what that means, he carefully follows the older man's lead. Together, they walk quietly through the house, enter each room, gently close window shades, and turn off lights to make the old house "dark and cozy." Along the way, Grandpop explained each click, squeak, and creak Isaac hears, telling him, "This old house makes sleepy sounds, just like you." The realistic illustrations of Grandpop's old house, its interior, and the outside landscape make this tale even more tender. The art is as charming and endearing as Isaac and Grandpop's bedtime adventure. VERDICT The rituals of bedtime, as encompassing and timeless as the bonds between generations, elevate a simple tale and make it an essential purchase for every collection.--Maegen Rose, Rye Country Day Sch.,

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"It's a cozy story of a loving Black grandfather and grandson, and Bates mirrors Grandpop's clever strategy with a smartly structured narrative. . . Ford's illustrations have an unusual sturdiness and dimension for watercolors, with a touch of toylike charm in the surroundings, in the figures' oversized heads, and in Snuffles, Grandpop's amiable terrier. Adults will latch immediately onto Grandpop's brilliant method, and this gently soporific read will be a joy for grandparents to share whether face to face or over FaceTime." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review) 

Janet Costa Bates
Janet Costa Bates is the author of Time for Bed, Old House, illustrated by AG Ford. Her grandparents, like Rica's ancestors, immigrated from Cape Verde. If she could have any pet, she would choose a beagle. Or maybe a giraffe. Janet Costa Bates lives in Massachusetts.

Gladys Jose is the illustrator of several books for young readers. She lives in Florida with her husband and daughter.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
September 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JUV013030 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Multigenerational
JUV010000 - Juvenile Fiction | Bedtime & Dreams
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
Library of Congress categories
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred, 07/01/21

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