It’s a dark and stormy night, with wind and thunder and lightning—even the river is rising up—and all the baby animals are scared.
Mama Elephant, big and comforting and knowledgeable, tells the little ones about each source of their fear and assures them several times that “You’re safe with me.” When the baby animals whimper because of the wind, she patiently explains: “He’s an old friend of the forest. He brings us seeds from faraway lands.” When the loris asks about the thunder’s noise, Mama Elephant takes the animals’ fears away by telling them that Thunder is “groaning from the weight of the rain.” In a little while “she will turn as fluffy as cotton flowers.” She explains: “Lightning sparkles in the sky when clouds collide.” The explanations are not meant to be scientific but rather poetic and comforting in a lullaby mode. The repetitive structure and lovely language are soothing, but it is the images that are outstanding. Although all the animals featured are found in India, the text is not based on a specific traditional tale, but the intricate, deeply colored digital images, formed with many dots and geometric shapes, evoke kalamkari textile techniques.
With its short, rhythmic text and its rich, embellished, shiny pages with animals, flowers, and trees just waiting to be discovered, this is a reassuring yet inventive bedtime book. (Picture book. 4-7)