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The Globe and Mail

Publisher claims credit for children's book that is subject of salty parody

Detail of the cover of "It's Time to Sleep, My Love"

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but a New York children's book publisher is asking for a little credit.

Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan's Children's Publishing Group issued a light-hearted release Thursday to call attention to a number of similarities between the wildly popular Adam Mansbach humour book Go The ... To Sleep, out Tuesday, and one of Feiwel and Friends' iconic titles: It's Time to Sleep, My Love, illustrated by Nancy Tillman and written by Eric Metaxas.

The release uses a chart to draw various comparisons, including between the two books' illustration style - especially lolling doppelganger tigers - and their texts. In Go The .... to Sleep, it reads, one four-line stanza begins: "The windows are dark in the town, child. The whales huddle down in the deep." And in the Nancy Tillman book: "It's time to sleep, it's time to sleep, the fishes croon in waters deep."

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The release also pokes salty-language fun at the new kid on the block. Under a heading titled "Kid appeal," Ms. Tillman's book, published in 2008, gets "Perennial sleepytime favourite" while Mr. Mansbach's gets "You've got to ... be kidding."

Jean Feiwel, who founded the imprint, says she knows that the parody was not mean-spirited and she won't be pursing any legal action because consumers would never mistake one book for the other.

"It's all in good fun but there is a reference here," says Ms. Feiwal, adding that many articles about Mr. Mansbach's book have described it as being "in the vein" of a children's book or many children's books.

"I wanted to set the record straight. There is a specific book out there. It's not Dr. Seuss. It's not Margaret Wise Brown's Goodnight Moon. It's It's Time to Sleep, My Love."

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