In rhymes and nighttime interiors that recall Goodnight Moon, Caldecott Honoree Ellis (Du Iz Tak?) imagines a space in which everything is neatly divided down the middle…The woman’s mid-story reunion, so profound and complete, may for some relegate the ending to distraction, but by centering the fragmentary, Ellis offers a strange, thrilling logic and invites readers to engage with a concept fundamental to children’s experience: liminality.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
In the Half Room isn’t a sequel to “Goodnight Moon,” and it’s not about dreams, per se, but it’s suffused with a playful dream logic that likely would have tickled Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, not to mention Lewis Carroll and René Magritte. The writer-illustrator Carson Ellis won a 2017 Caldecott Honor for her story told in gibberish, “Du Iz Tak?” — and this new one shares its predecessor’s trust in children’s willingness to be simultaneously puzzled and delighted, to let a story come to them.
—The New York Times Book Review
In cadences reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown’s soothing narratives, Ellis introduces the interior: “Half a window / Half a door / Half a rug on half a floor.” True and near rhymes jostle gently in the lulling text…Visually charming and a bit disarming, this invites dialogue between caregivers and young children.
It’s a genuinely offbeat story embracing absurdity, and cat lovers everywhere will easily accept the asocial cat-halves refusing to “shoop” and merely falling asleep next to each other. A wholly entertaining tale.
—The Horn Book
With a moonlit setting and simple, repetitive phrasing, Caldecott Honor-winner Ellis’ (Du Iz Tak?, 2016) latest offering gives a nod to Goodnight Moon…Silly and sweet, this comforting book will be wholly embraced by children as a new bedtime favorite.
The author of Du Iz Tak? has developed another book that is sure to stretch the imagination and welcome whimsy…The text primarily consists of naming each item on the page, but does so in a simple rhyming pattern and cadence that is reminiscent of Goodnight Moon. It is a quiet book, one that would be good for bedtime.
—School Library Journal
The traditional rhyming nighttime benediction takes an enjoyably weird turn in this bedtime story from Ellis (Du Iz Tak?, BCCB 12/16)…Compositions shift between focus on individual items and views of the overall scene in yet another echo of Goodnight Moon, and the details are sturdily painted with vigor while the creamy backgrounds enhance the crepuscular flavor. (Adults will also appreciate the joke that the reader is perusing half of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.) The matter-of-fact oddity provides a nursery-rhyme feel and a bit of a twist that will intrigue youngsters more interested in dreaming than sleeping.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books