IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
Written & Illustrated by Michael Arnold
Speedy-Doodle Studios 2/4/2020
40 Pages Age 3—8
. . .DEBUT
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Fiction
Themes: Bedtime Story, Monsters, Brothers, Imagination
In The MiDDle of the Night
When you should be in bed,
Did you just hear a noise?
Or was it all in your head?
There are things that go “Bump!”
When the moon’s shining bright,
And sometimes things happen
in middle of the night . . .
You don’t believe this tale is true?
Just wait until it happens to you!!
(from back cover)
“Just the other day, in the middle of the night,
Chubby little Chester awoke with fright!
He pulled up the covers and called for his mother . . .
A monster had taken the place of his brother!”
Why I like In the Middle of the Night
In the Middle of the Night is not a good night for little Chester. Something awakes him in the middle of the night. Chester’s things are broken or tossed about the room. Eating up the bedroom is a big, blue, drooling, snorting, hairy monster. Like a baby gumming toy keys on a plastic ring, everything the monster touches goes straight into its drooling, ugly mug. AND his big brother Paul is nowhere in sight. Chester wants to know, but he’s scared, so he does what any boy would do, he yells for MOM!!
Mom does not arrive, so Chester fakes his bravery, picks up a bat (protection and baseball), and jumps on the monster. The big, blue creature simply snorts and laughs, making Chester even madder. The monster claims he is Paul, to whom Chester retorts, “You big, blue, dumb, drooling, scowling snorting monster are not my brother. Do you see ‘stupid’ written across my forehead?” (Okay, I’m paraphrasing Chester’s retort.).
The monster is going to show Chester they are brothers with proof he cannot deny, so monster picks up a baseball, winds up, and throws the ball toward Chester. Chester uses the bat he’d picked up for protection and swings at the incoming ball.
The ball drops to the ground.
In the Middle of the Night is a fun, rhyming story full of animated illustrations kids will absolutely love. I found the illustrations to be mesmerizing. The details in each spread are wonderful. In addition, the vibrant colors against a white background make the art pop off the page. Author-illustrator Michael Arnold is a gifted artist.
Now, Mr. Arnold’s writing, or rather his poetry, is a different story. Writing poetry for children’s picture books—and doing it right—is challenging. A good number of publishers do not accepting poetry (except from the tried and true), because it’s so difficult. To write a story in rhyming poetry, for your first picture book, is gutsy (my opinion). With all of this in mind, Michael Arnold’s writing, his poetry, and his rhyming (every bit of it), is very good.
In the Middle of the Night is available in paperback (reviewed), and is a small picture book, measuring 6.5” X 6.5,” which is a good size for children. Their small fingers will have no trouble carrying the book around. Turning the pages will be a bit more difficult, based on the book I received. Many times a second page hijacked a ride on a previous page. In the Middle of the Night in paperback can be easily torn by those same little fingers, BUT, as of March 11th a larger 8” X 8” hardback is available. Go with the hardback option, if you can.
In the Middle of the Night will delight children. Bedtime monster stories have never been so good.
Favorite Spread #12
Action is abundant in In the Middle of the Night. In the beginning, the bedroom gets destroyed, a secret baseball pitch is thrown, and Chester offers monster a late night snack. Afterwards, Mom “catches” the boys out of their bedroom. “Why are you two out of bed?”
Chester explains the fault is Paul’s. As Chester explains, three thought bubbles depict a portion of the earlier scenes. I think it is a brilliant way of expressing Chester’s words to his mom. And a great reminder if you should forget what happened (how dare you!).
Speedy-Doodle Studios for more Michael Arnold.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. Copyright © 2020 by Michael Arnold. Published by Speedy-Doodle Studios, Maplewood, NJ.
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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