Stewart tenders a piece of puff pastry that wishes nothing more than to send its readers to slumberland.
This book, with its handsome artwork but thin-as-gruel text, may find its readers snug asleep in bed, but purely unintentionally. The bald intent here is to instruct: If you sense your mother’s nearness when you wake late in the dark of night, you will feel her loving protectiveness, close your eyes and find your way back to sleep. To be kind, if your child is a committed spiritualist or a Zen adept, this may work, but most adult readers will find themselves muttering, “As if.” The mother and cub spend the day flexing the cub’s newfound abilities—jumping in the grass, climbing the rocks—and the mother, in the refrain, reminds the cub that he is doing it “all by yourself”: the unsubtle hint that he is not sleeping by himself yet, is he? These reminders give way to the mystical. “If you keep your eyes closed, and I am quieter than the smallest cricket,” asks Mommy, “then how do you know I am near?” Eventually it works for the cub, though that grassland still looks mighty dark and deep. The illustrations, however, are an eyeful: mixed-media confections that catch the smoky-purple hills and tawny grasslands where these tigers roam (though, in reality, most tigers prefer the Asian forest).
A didactic pipe dream. (Picture book. 3-5)