What Are You Doing in My Bed?
‘What are you doing in my bed?’ These words echo like a mantra through the pages of Joke van Leeuwen’s picture book for toddlers. Although technically speaking, ‘pages’ isn’t quite the right word. Waarom lig jij in mijn bedje? is constructed as a ‘leporello’, a concertina book that can be folded out to make a strip that’s a couple of metres long.
A typical Joke van Leeuwen child (big nose, little eyes) throws his bear out of bed for being too big and too warm. With a ‘Go and sleep in your own bed!’, he tells the bear to scram. Bear leaves for another bed, where he finds another cuddly toy, and asks the big question: ‘What are you doing in my bed?’ And the question goes from cuddly toy to bed to cuddy toy until it arrives at the last little ragdoll – and there’s no bed left for him. Is it a sad and sorry tale? Not at all. Because if you turn around the fold-out book and follow the ragdoll’s journey back past all the beds, you’ll find that there is a place left in one of the beds – and it’s just the right size for a ragdoll.
Following Heb je mijn zusje gezien?, Joke van Leeuwen has written and illustrated another absolute hit for toddlers with Waarom lig jij in mijn bedje? It’s playfully illustrated with clear shapes, large areas of colour, a minimum of details and it isn’t too sweet; the ‘Go and sleep in your own bed’ theme is firmly anchored in the story.