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Tippy and the Night Parade

Tippy and the Night Parade
Written and Illustrated by Lilli Carré
Published in 2014 by Toon Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press
ISBN 978-1-9351-7957-3

Grades preK-3

Book Review
Tippy! LOOK at your room? What is this MESS?” From this typical parent-child interaction, comes a circular story that invites readers to imagine a girl’s nightly sleepwalking journey that will delight young children and adults alike. Defining herself as an interdisciplinary artist and illustrator, Lille Carré shares her graphic artistry with this book for early readers in Tippy and the Night Parade, welcoming them into the world of words, images, and story through this digitally illustrated comic.  Readers enter Tippy’s bedroom where she looks around to find a pig crawling into her bed, mice dancing on her headboard, a horse peeking in the window, and a host of animals crawling on her floor. At a loss for knowing where they came from, Tippy wonders if maybe she didn’t fall asleep, wander through the garden, enter a misty wood, dig a hole deep underground, and come back through a cactus patch leading an animal night parade back to her bedroom each morning. Adding an additional layer to the narrative, the animals’ interactions take on a subplot making the reading engaging and new each time you read it. Counter to most book for early readers, Carré uses a palette that is muted to reveal daybreak and nighttime signifying to young readers the passage of time. Bold words, sound effects, speech bubbles, and internal thinking add craft techniques throughout the story.   Like the work of Mo Willems and even Dr. Seuss, Carré is redefining what book for early readers can be—imaginative, complex stories that center reading as meaning. 
Teaching Ideas / Invitations for Your Classroom:
Grades preK-3
Attention to Print. Throughout the book, readers can be encouraged when appropriate to attend to print by noticing the big, bold words as the plot develops. Words that are central to the storyline have been selected for  centering meaning as a critical component in early print acquisition including: sleep, asleep, hop, lost, big hole, and tiptoed. In addition, Carré has some words that are capitalized giving them additional significance including: oof, pop, walked, slid, and hello. Discuss with students why they think Carré chose these words as important words to the story. In multiple readings of the story, encourage students to read these words along with you noticing how their voice changes when they encounter a word with bold or capitalized letters. Encourage students as early writers forming print to make significant words big, bold, or capitalized in their own stories.
The Grammar of Comics. Carré uses a comic design that provides early readers a dynamic reading experience where wordless pages and layout design give indications of passage of time and support readers as they are ready to read words. The print is written entirely in speech bubbles much like the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willemswhich supports students to share in the reading using their voices to indicate emphasis and meaning through expression and intonation. In the back of the book, the author provides recommendations for caregivers and teachers in how to read comics with early readers. These same tips can be extended to children themselves including reading with expression, inferring characters’ thoughts, noticing silent panels or sped-up action based on the size and shape of the panels, and rereading to notice further details. Following multiple readings, provide students with a variety of page layouts to design their own comics or use sites such as pixton or bitstrips to support students to digitally craft their own comics.
What If? Night Parade Story Construction. Beyond its comic design, Tippy and the Night Parade is at heart a fantasy. Like other fantasies for young children, the setting is largely familiar but the events and characters are often unusual and imaginative. Encourage young writers to ask “What if you had a night parade of animals? What kinds of animals would be following you? Where would you go?” Encourage students to rehearse their ideas by sharing their thinking with a partner or the class.  Support young writers to write, draw, or dictate their stories. Accept all kinds of answers–dinosaurs, ninja turtles, wild turkeys, and even monsters. 

Maybe? Who Knows? Readers’ Theater. As we have suggested in previous entries for books comprised of dialogue (e.g., The Watermelon Seed, I Want My Hat Back, This is Not My Hat, and Up! Tall! and High!), Tippy and the Night Parade provides wonderful material for exploration through Readers’ Theater. Invite students to try their own dramatization of the text, discussing in advance how their voice will indicate Tippy’s thoughts and feelings. Create your own class story about an animal parade using lines that Tippy says to herself when she wonders how the animals  got into her room–“maybe….who knows?” Collaboratively choose a series of settings for the parade to wander through as well as a series of animals or creatures that join the parade. Consider the kinds of animals that would be present in a given setting while remaining open to the imaginative possibilities. 
Duet Model: Night Parade Text Set. Compare Tippy and the Night Parade to Peggy Rathmann’s Good Night Gorilla in a duet text set. In what ways do the authors draw from the same idea of a night parade? In what ways do both works support readers to wonder and laugh? How do the animals’ stories develop as a series of subplots alongside the human story in both books? Also consider with students their marked differences including choices the authors made about setting and protagonist and the use of words in the text. To further investigate this concept, read other books that feature a “parade” of animal characters in various contexts including The Red Sled by Lita Judge, Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, and While the World is Sleeping by Pamela Duncan Edwards.

Shades of Meaning. In Tippy and the Night Parade, Lilli Carré uses a muted palette of orange and maroon to signify daybreak and shades of blue and gray to indicate an increasingly darkened night. Support readers to notice the subtle shifts in shade to help support our understanding of the passage of time. Encourage students to consider the circular nature of the story by noticing what colors begin and end the story.  Support students to illustrate their own stories that indicate the passage of time drawing from Carré’s palette. Compare Carré’s techniques for indicating passage of time with Eric Carle’s in books like The Very Quiet Cricket using the book or selected videos 

Animal Investigation. The animals play a significant role in Tippy and the Night Parade. Support students to notice the details in their characterization and how and why they joined the night parade from the crab clinging to Tippy’s nightgown to the bear who joins in the mist of the woods. Encourage students to share questions they have about the animals, their habitats, their physical features, and the fictionalized personas they take on in the story. Provide nonfiction resources for students to learn more as the animals interest them. Steve Jenkins’ work is one place to start as you bridge students’ natural curiosity about animals in stories to the animals’ amazing attributes in the world.  
Critical Literacy
Comics for Everyone by Everyone. Tippy and the Night Parade is not your everyday comic or what you would necessarily expect to see when you first think of the word. In this way, Carré challenges traditional notions of who comics are for, who they are written by, and what kinds of stories they can be written about. Conduct research as a class on the history of comics and sequential stories. What are the differences between comic books and comic strips or “funnies”? What kinds of characters are featured in comics? In what ways does Tippy transcend stereotypical notions of comic book characters? 
Further Explorations
Online Resources

Author’s Site

Toon Books Site

The New York Times Book Review

Read-Write-Think’s Create Your Own Comic Site

Pixton Comic Site

Bitstrips Comic Site

Dubuc, M. (2012). Animal masquerade. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press. 

Edwards, P.D. (2010). While the world is sleeping. New York, NY: Scholastic/Orchard Books. 

Fraser, M. (1998). Where are the night animals? New York, NY: HarperCollins. 

Jenkins, S. (2013). The animal book: A collection of the fastest, fiercest, toughest, cleverst, shyest–and most surprising– animals on Earth. New York, NY: HMH Books for Young Readers. 

Judge, L. (2011). red sled. New York, NY: Antheneum Books for Young Readers. 

Pinder, E. (2012). If all the animals came inside. New York, NY: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 

Rathmann, P. (1996). Goodnight, gorilla. New York, NY: Putnam Juvenile. 

Rowe, T. (2014). Hearts: Toon books level 1. New York, NY: Toon Books. 
Willems, M. Elephant and piggie. New York, NY: Disney Hyperion. (series)

Wilson, K. (2005). Bear snores on. New York, NY: Little Simon. 

Katie Cunningham About Katie Cunningham

Katie is an Associate Professor of Literacy and English Education at Manhattanville College. Her work focuses on children’s literature, joyful literacy methods, and literacy leadership. Katie is the author of Story: Still the Heart of Literacy Learning and co-author of Literacy Leadership in Changing Schools. Her book Start with Joy: Designing Literacy Learning for Student Happiness will be released September 2019. She is passionate about the power of stories to transform lives.


  1. Hoping to be able to really develop my school library picture book collection and what a great addition this would make. thanks!