Don’t let bedtime get in the way of fun

You just start having fun when your parents announce it’s time for dinner, your bath or the real party-ender, bedtime.

The Secret Plan by Julia Sarcone-Roach tells the story of  Harriet, Hildy, Henry and Milo (three kittens and a baby elephant), a group of  friends whose play is constantly derailed by various parent announcements:

“There was always something getting in the way. ‘Lunch!’ toppled the tower. ‘Dinner!’ terminated the takeoff. And sometimes their adventures were broken up for no good reason. ‘Get out of the trash!'”

Milo comes up with numerous strategies to keep the fun going – hiding, going undercover, disguises and sneaking out – but the friends always get found out. Finally Hildy devises a secret plan that involves furry monster feet and stealth and results in no end to their fun – “It was the perfect late-night-no-bedtime-ever hideout.”

Parents will like the ending which sees everyone fast asleep!

I really enjoyed this book, perhaps because I had a raft of procrastination techniques for putting off bedtime when I was little that my own children seem to have inherited. The acrylic illustrations are really lovely, particularly the cross-sections of the multi-storey houses that the characters live in, allowing readers to see multiple scenes at once. I also like the different, rectangular format of the book and the constant switch between single page, double-page and even half-page illustrations. A terrific bedtime story for ages three and over.

The Secret Plan is available for $15.70 (including delivery) at Book Depository.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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