All around the world, while humans sleep, there are animals active at night.
After an opening spread introducing the idea of nocturnal animals and a few of their adaptations, this unusual album offers a simulation of looking through a night-vision scope into different environments: woodland, country road, urban neighborhood, beach, desert, and so forth. Each illustration (rounded, as if viewed through a scope, with top and bottom edges bleeding off the page) fills three-quarters of the spread; the text, white on black, sits alongside. Five animals from the scene are identified in short paragraphs, and there’s a question (answers in the back). Some creatures or parts of creatures have been highlighted with phosphorescent paint, visible in darkness for a short while if the page has been held under a lamp for a few minutes. These illustrations invite repeated exploration; the glow-in-the-dark effect advertised on the cover is intriguing, but each page must be exposed separately, and the glow is not long-lasting. Children may need instruction beyond the book’s “turn off the lights to see what glows in the dark.” For the U.S. version of this French import, some European species have been replaced by more-familiar North American ones (the barred owl for the tawny owl, for example), and the text has been recast to include North American details. This makes these scenes a curious conglomeration but no less interesting for it.
Attention-grabbing if not truly glowing. (Informational picture book. 6-10)