A lyrical poem fit for any bedtime ritual.
Rice captures the soothing rhythms of the night in an ode to bedtime that will please any toddler. Using what appear to be cut-paper silhouettes on solid and gradient-color backings, Rice fills each page with images of evening repose: ducks napping, deer browsing, a squirrel sleeping, and so on. The silhouettes are touched with buff highlights, giving them shape and suggesting feathers, fur, and a fawn’s spots. In many of the pictures, the image of a clock can be seen with its hands pointing to the late-night/early-morning hours to further suggest the lateness of the day. Often superimposed on tree trunks, the clock takes on many forms—a duck’s home, a birdhouse, a shed, and so on—to better blend into the scenery of the night. The poem centers on a rural family of unknown ethnicity with chickens, sheep, and farming equipment, but urban and suburban children will respond to the story as well based on the easy flow of the rhyme, the titular line acting as a refrain. “A calf in the barn. A sheep in her stall. / A colt casts a shadow on the weathered wall. // A hen warms her eggs. Rooster waits for first light. / And all is quiet at the stroke of goodnight.” The story should also find a place of honor in pajama storytimes in schools, preschools, and libraries.
Simply sublime. (Picture book. 2-6)