No Jumping on the Bed!

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The cover of No Jumping on the Bed!, written and illustrated by Tedd Arnold

No Jumping on the Bed! is a children's book written and illustrated by Tedd Arnold. Published in 1987, it marked the first of the many children's books that Arnold was to both write and illustrate. No Jumping on the Bed! won the 1988 International Reading Association/Children's Book Council Children's Choice Award, the Georgia Children's Picture Storybook Award in 1990, and the Volunteer State Book Award in 1992.[1] The book is aimed at 4-7 year olds and written in humorous rhyming prose, similar in style to that of Dr. Seuss whom Arnold acknowledges as a major influence on his work.[2] It tells the story of Walter, a little boy whose father has told not to jump up and down on his bed. Walter dreams that he has ignored his father's warning with disastrous results. He and his bed fall through all seven floors of his apartment building, taking with them all the neighbors in the floors below.

Arnold's inspiration for the story came when he and his young family moved from Florida to an old apartment building in Yonkers, New York. His son Walter, for whom the protagonist is named, was four years old at the time and loved jumping on his bed. As Arnold writes:

"But Walter's bedroom floor was someone else's ceiling! The whole idea of apartment living was new to me back then. People living upstairs. More people living downstairs! New experiences like that seem to spark my imagination."[3]

Arnold's oft-repeated warning to his son of "No jumping on the bed!" became the title of the book.


Synopsis[edit]

Walter's father finds him jumping on his bed and warns him not to do it: "One day it’ll crash right through the floor." Walter tries to go to sleep but hears his friend Delbert in the apartment above jumping on his bed. Walter decides to have just one more jump himself, but instead keeps jumping higher and higher until the floor starts to crack. He and his bed fall into Miss Hattie’s apartment where he lands in her plate of spaghetti and meatballs.

Walter and his bed continue to fall, along with Miss Hattie and the spaghetti, into Mr. Matty's apartment where he is watching monsters on his television set. Miss Hattie falls into Mr. Matty's lap, while Walter lands in his fish tank. The next stop for Walter's bed and the ever-growing crowd is Walter's Aunt Batty's room. Aunt Batty is still unpacking from her move to her room when she sees her nephew crashing through her ceiling.

Aunt Batty's stamp collection gets scattered all over the floor. Aunt Batty and her stamps join the group as it falls into the next apartment, knocking over a castle of toy blocks that Patty and Natty have been building. Patty, Natty, and Fatty (their cat) are added to the group as it falls down into Mr. Hanratty's apartment where he is painting a picture at his easel. Walter, Miss Hattie, Mr. Matty, Aunt Batty, Patty and Natty, Mr. Hanratty, the cat, the paint, the spaghetti, the television, the fish, and various toys now land in Maestro Ferlingatti's apartment where he and his string quartet are practicing. They too join the tumbling crowd who all end up safely in the dark and quiet basement of the building.

Walter is back in his bed and realizes that it has all been a dream, but he promises himself that he will never jump on his bed again and hopes that Delbert will learn his lesson as well. Then Walter hears Delbert jumping on the bed again, followed shortly by Delbert falling through Walter's ceiling thus meaning that the same things will happen in Walter's dream for Delbert. But it will not be Walter that causes it.

Characters (in order of appearance)[edit]

  • Walter
  • Walter's father
  • Miss Hattie
  • Mr. Matty
  • Aunt Batty
  • Patty and Natty and their cat Fatty
  • Mr. Hanratty
  • Maestro Ferlingatti
  • Delbert, Walter's friend

Bibliographic information[edit]

There have been 14 later editions of the book in English,[4] including a board book with simplified text for very young children. (Imprints for the later editions include Puffin and Scholastic Inc.). The Scholastic cassette has the music of Richard DeRosa and the narration of Ron Marshall.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Tedd Arnold." Children's Authors. Answers Corporation, 2006. Accessed 25 September 2008.
  2. ^ Biography: Tedd Arnold, Scholastic. Accessed 25 September 2008.
  3. ^ Background to No Jumping on the Bed! on Tedd Arnold's official web site. Accessed 24 September 2010.
  4. ^ Entry for No Jumping on the Bed! on the WorldCat database. Accessed 25 September 2008.

External links[edit]