PICTURE BOOK REVIEW: Simon Says Good Night by Orit Bergman, translated by Annette Appel



Simon didn’t say go to sleep…did he?

After he’s tucked into bed, Simon and his favorite toys get ready to play…Simon Says! The nighttime comes alive, and imaginations run free as Simon issues his commands to his little friends. There’s just one you’d better make sure he said “Simon says,” or else it’s your turn to go to sleep!


Orit Bergman is an Israeli author and illustrator. She was born in Jerusalem and lives and works in Kerem Maharal, Israel. She writes and illustrates children's books, adapts her stories for the theater, and frequently meets children across the country. Her books have been published in Israel, France, China, and the United States. She studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, where she now heads the illustration-studies department. Learn more about the author at www.oritbergman.com.

Annette Appel is a translator of books for young readers and truly enjoys the challenge of making stories written in Hebrew accessible to English speakers. She recently translated Bear and Fred: A World War II Story, by Iris Argaman and illustrated by Avi Ofer. Annette grew up in Oak Park, Michigan, and now lives with her family on a kibbutz in northern Israel.


Simon's clever take on the game of Simon Says provides a nice dose of fun before he and his toys go to sleep. After his father leaves the room, Simon immediately pops out of bed and begins a game of Simon says with his toys. If the toy follows an instruction without the words Simon Says, it has to go to sleep. One by one, the puppy, robot, and mouse succumb to slumber. Along the way though they fly through the sky, take a ride on the back of a wolf, and visit a star before he returns to his bed to fall asleep. The art takes a somewhat abstract turn during the imaginary part of the story. The art is certainly striking although the style didn't appeal to me much. But the story is a fun one with Simon putting himself to sleep in such a creative way. As with many books that originate from somewhere outside the United States, the style of the writing and art is different than what is commonly seen in the U.S. This makes for a different sort of reading experience.



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