Good Night, Baddies by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Juli Kangas [in Booklist]
They might be “baddies” by day, but by evening, all the familiar villains (witches, wolves, giants, dragons, trolls, and so on) who make fairy tales so exciting shed their evil ways: “All day long they must be vile; / now, at night, they chat and smile.”
They politely share dinner, take turns in soothing bubble baths, tell gentle stories by firelight, check under their beds, read a book or two, and soon enough drift off to a “baddie lullaby” with the next day’s “evil schemes” but a dream away. For young readers, the lightly lilting, humorous four-line verses on each double-page spread should be a gentle beacon toward slumber land, too.
Deborah Underwood and Juli Kangas are a delightfully subversive team, proving even the meanest baddies need time to relax and recharge. Showing the cooperative, thoughtful side of the most mythic meanies is also a clever reminder – even to jaded adults – to look well beyond others’ exteriors and reputations, and discover the nice guys waiting underneath.