Middle of the Night – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

The folks at Wordsong, an imprint of Highlights, remain at the forefront of picture book poetry. Take this fabulous bedtime book by Laura Purdie Salas, for example:

What do toys, boring old kleenexes, clothing, overdue books, toothpaste, toilets, pencils, kitchen utensils, foods, and yard implements do while you’re asleep?

Text ©️Laura Purdie Salas   Illustration ©️Angela Matteson

These poems provide answers: toys stage a talent show; markers lie around drying out; paper turns into airplanes; toothpaste, dental floss, and the toilet work through their issues in the bathroom; pencils plunge down the stairs; and one of my personal favorites— the basketball chills in the kitchen sink:

Humor and lively language abound. Matteson’s vibrant and funny illustrations personifying a variety of inanimate objects are a perfect match for the playfulness of Salas’s poems. So much fun! This book is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.


Write a poem about what your toys or other items around the house do while you’re asleep.

Perform the poems for two voices from the book.

Pair with: One Minute Till Bedtime: 60-second Poems to Send You Off to Sleep 

Title: Middle of the Night: Poems from a Wide-Awake House

Author: Laura Purdie Salas

Illustrator: Angela Matteson

Publisher: Wordsong (Highlights), 2019

Ages: Pre-k – 3rd grade

Themes: Bedtime, poetry, imagination

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.






Looking to get those bedtime wiggles settled for the night? The Middle of the Night: Poems from a Wide-Awake House will delight, bring on some giggles, and provide a little magical realism that’s perfect for nighttime.


7 thoughts on “Middle of the Night – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

  1. ptnozell says:

    What a perfect picture book for National Poetry Month! It also makes me wonder what all of the lonely books in the library are doing, not to mention all of those desks, art supplies, and other classroom essentials locked up worldwide.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      One of the owners of one of my favorite local bookstores sent a photo of her quiet bookstore out on instagram, with a note talking about how they’re all waiting for our return. It was lovely and made me feel so wistful for our previous life.

    • Laura Purdie Salas says:

      Thanks! And here’s my poem about what the books at a bookstore get up to at night. This poem is from BOOKSPEAK! POEMS ABOUT BOOKS. (I also have a poem about library books in the same book, but it makes me think the books are getting very lonely and antsy in the library, so I’m sharing this bookstore one instead;>) )

      Lights Out at the Bookstore

      During the day,
      we wait in straight rows.
      We’re frozen, we’re still until night…
      until closing.

      Then the party starts!

      We eat treats in COOKBOOKS
      and bop to the beat of MUSIC.
      We run relays down miles
      of aisles of SPORTS.
      PARENTING books holler,
      “Careful with that red punch!” and
      “Use your inside voices.”
      CHILDREN’S books laugh and scream
      and climb on counters.
      We circle the booklights, and
      into the night, MYSTERIES
      murmur fears in our ears.
      Then we gobble up gum drops,
      tell RIDDLES & JOKES,
      and bend our spines to limbo.
      We party on until dawn.
      We’re wired, too tired
      to hoist ourselves
      back to the shelves.

      At opening time,
      the owner unlocks the door;
      we’re sprawled on the floor in deep-sleeping piles.
      “Who made this mess?”
      But he suspects:
      “Bye, books—
      I’ll come back for the party tonight!”

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