HALF A MOON AND ONE WHOLE STAR by Crescent Dragonwagon


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A dream-like lullaby poem showing how life continues through the night while a child sleeps. When half a moon and one whole star hang in the sky, it's a sign that night is about to come. The birds and the animals prepare for night; some are going to sleep while others rouse. ""Susan lies in bed, not sleeping./ Not yet sleeping, but does she doze,/ Blinking as the curtain blows?/ Yes, yes, yes, she does, sleep, Susan, Sleep."" The soothing, hypnotic story continues as Susan smells summer scents of honeysuckle and green-cut lawns, and hears the whir of the crickets and the sounds of her parents talking on the porch. Forest animals stir, fish sleep in the lake, a docked ship raises its anchor and sets sail, a saxophone player plays blues through the night. The baker, powdery white in flour, bakes his bread, and Susan sleeps on. But soon--a reversal. The sky lightens, and all creatures of the night prepare for bed while the day creatures awaken. The cadence and the sensual images of the text, coupled with the artist's direct, yet subtly disjointed pictures in vivid watery colors, combine for a harmonious nighttime symphony of sound and color. The jump in time sequence in the last three spreads, while a bit confusing, does introduce children to the concept of time's continuity; when night comes, day will follow. Pinkney's interpretation of Susan as a black child adds an interesting dimension and should broaden the range of readership.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1986
Publisher: Macmillan