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by Carmen Oliver ; illustrated by Miren Asiain Lora

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-7358-4496-4
Publisher: NorthSouth

When night falls, the creatures of the night gather to hear stories.

Crawlers, beetles, voles, mice, bats, nighthawks, they come. “Fireflies light the way. The north wind blows, branches sway and part…the twilight library stirs to life. Critters gather round in a circle while…the Night Librarian descends on silver strings and unravels the story threads.” What follows certainly tickles each of the senses with talk of “indigo mountaintops,” “tangy berries,” “whisker kisses,” “wispy wood smoke,” “the song of cicadas.” But after this sumptuous scene is set, readers are jolted abruptly out of the book as the spider “weaves the final scene…of feasting, of dancing, of daring that saves the day….” After all the sensory setup, that’s all readers get of the tale the Night Librarian actually tells. Meanwhile, the listeners are enraptured, emerging from the threads of the story only when dawn arrives to send them to their individual dreams. Soft dreamlike colors suffuse the scenes, the twilight library depicted charmingly as books suspended on the threads of a spiderweb. The animals sport golden crowns when their imaginations make them part of the story being woven; aside from the beetles sitting like humans and the unrealistic gathering of these disparate (sometimes predator-prey) animals, they are not anthropomorphized. A few of the scenes are so hazy that readers may have difficulty parsing them. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A charming idea that misses in the execution.

(Picture book. 4-7)