And J.J. Slept
And J.J. Slept
That first week, J.J. did all sorts of typical baby things.
“Not much seems to bother this little fella,” said Dad.
“He sleeps through it all,” said Mom.
“And it all seems louder than usual,” said Dad.
“Coming in for a landing!” Sebastian hollered to ground control.
“Did you say something?” shouted Harvey.
“I can’t find my piano book,” called Ada.
Etta chatted endlessly to Cheddar.
And J.J slept.
On the day J.J finally meets his new family, he is greeted by his proud parents and excitable four older siblings. Right away, J.J. is immersed in the sounds of his new home. The kettle whistles, his siblings are running around and talking over each other, and the washing machine beeps. But these new and loud sounds don’t seem to bother J.J.; in fact he sleeps through it all. During J.J. 's first week at home, his siblings help to bathe him, change him, and read to him, all the while continuing with their own busy lives. J.J. continues to be content and sleeps on.
However, the following weekend, all of his siblings are away, and, for once, the house is rather quiet. With this new silence, J.J. could not sleep. His parents tried everything, from rocking and feeding him to singing lullabies, but nothing worked. Anxious and surviving on coffee, his parents were out of ideas until all of J.J.'s siblings finally came home. The noises were back! Ada played on the piano, Etta talked endlessly about her adventures, and things were accidentally knocked over. Meanwhile, J.J. stopped crying, let out a big yawn, and finally slept.
And J.J. Slept is a fun read that will give readers warm and fuzzy feelings. Medina uses soft colours in her illustrations that help her to capture an inviting home. She focuses on minute details such as potted plants in the background, half empty pots of coffee, random toys on the ground, and other everyday items that show an active yet comfortable lifestyle. She successfully portrays a diverse and loving family that eagerly welcomes baby J.J.. Readers can tell a little bit about each character’s personality through vivid expressions, style of clothes, and the activities that they do throughout the story.
Garbutt only mentions in the beginning that J.J. is adopted when he is brought to his new family by the adoption worker. Otherwise, adoption is not necessarily the focus of this book, but rather it’s the meaning of home and family, whether adopted or not. For some people, that could be a quiet home in the countryside or an energetic life in the city. In the case of And J.J. Slept, home for J.J. becomes a lively and busy household full of the sounds and love of his siblings and parents. He is most comfortable when everyone is around going about their day, and this likely gives him a sense of security. Young readers will enjoy seeing the constant chatter of the siblings and realizing the twist of what helps J.J. sleep. Parents will also find humor in what it takes to get J.J. to sleep as many will agree that a happy, sleeping baby is a wonderful thing.
Julia Pitre is a Children’s Librarian with London Public Library in London, Ontario.