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Children's Fiction Imagination & Play

What If Bedtime Didn't Exist?

by (author) Francine Cunningham

illustrated by Mathias Ball

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2024
Imagination & Play, Bedtime & Dreams, Native Canadian
Recommended Age
4 to 7
Recommended Grade
p to 2
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2024
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A whimsical and lyrical celebration of imagination and exploration if we simply asked, “What if . . .”

Follow two siblings through their day as they let their imaginations run wild in this joyful story about all the possibilities a simple “what if” can conjure up: What if the monsters in your closet wanted to be your friend? What if all of the dinosaurs were shrunk to be teeny-tiny when the comet hit the earth? And what if bedtime didn’t exist and we could imagine anything we wanted?

What If Bedtime Didn’t Exist? places an Urban Indigenous family at the heart of a fun and fantastical celebration of daydreaming, adventure, and play while living in the city. The tenderness and care in this intergenerational home is seen through relationships with all members in the family.

Mathias Ball’s vibrant illustrations bring each page of acclaimed author Francine Cunningham’s debut picture book to life. What If Bedtime Didn’t Exist? opens up new spaces for creativity and endless possibilities into our everyday world.

About the authors

Francine Cunninghamis an award-winning writer, artist, and educator who spends her summer days writing on the Prairies and her winter months teaching in the north. Francine is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Alberta but grew up in Calgary, Edmonton, and 100 Mile House, BC. Francine is also Metis and has settler family roots stretching from as far away as Ireland and Belgium. She currently resides in Alberta and previously spent over a decade calling Vancouver her home.

Her debut book of poems On/Me (Caitlin Press) was nominated for The BC and Yukon Book Prize, The Indigenous Voices Award, and The Vancouver Book Award. Her debut book of short stories God Isn’t Here Today (Invisible Publishing) was longlisted for the inaugural Carol Shields Prize for Fiction. Francine also writes for television with credits including the teen reality show THAT’S AWSM! among others and was a recipient of a Telus StoryHive grant. Her fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have also appeared in The Best Canadian Short Stories, The Best Canadian Non-Fiction, in Grain Magazine as the 2018 Short Prose Award winner, on The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Prose shortlist, and on the 2022 CBC Poetry Prize longlist, among others.

You can find out more about her at

Francine Cunningham's profile page

MATHIAS BALL was born and raised in a small Canadian town on the coast of Lake Huron. They are a trans-identified artist and a graduate of the Illustration program at Sheridan College. Mathias also illustrated Every Body Is a Rainbow, written by Caroline Carter. Mathias’s dream is to illustrate a world depicting cute characters and lots of dogs. When he isn’t creating art, Mathias is most likely playing with his Shih Tzu, Lily.

Mathias Ball's profile page


  • Joint winner, TD Summer Reading Club

Editorial Reviews

“What if there was a great book about kids’ artful, joyful imagination? Oh, wait: Here it is!”

Kirkus Reviews, 03/01/24

“As bedtime begins, loving wishes provide invincibility for more far-out dreams—encouraging readers to lean into their own what-ifs.”

Publishers Weekly, 01/11/24

“With a little imagination the children turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary adventure. Glorious illustrations bring their imaginings to life on every page.”

Youth Services Book Review, *starred review, 02/03/24

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