A bedtime book set to music.
Laiz and Vernon’s text, set to music composed by Vernon and presented on an accompanying CD, loses some of its lullaby flavor without the audio addition. This occurs due to design choices that break the text up awkwardly, interrupting cadence and shifting rhyme schemes. Meanwhile, illustrations alternate between interior scenes of a white, human family settling in for the night and outdoor scenes of various animals going to sleep. Curiously, even nocturnal or crepuscular animals such as raccoons, owls, bats, and red foxes are depicted hunkering down—almost always with smiles on their faces. The rather stiff illustrations also add many animals unmentioned by the text, including a panda and a giraffe on the cover that feel very out of place in the book’s apparent North American woodland setting. The cover art also tucks those animals and others under the titular blanket of stars, but inside the book this blanket belongs to a child and animals aren’t anthropomorphized to such a degree. The result seems like a mismatch between design and interior art. Perhaps a bigger misstep is the decision to include bedtime poems by Robert Louis Stevenson, Christina Rossetti, Thomas Dekker, and then another by Vernon as backmatter. The first three underscore the failings of the main text, while the inclusion of the last seems indulgent, at best.
Better bedtime books abound. (Picture book. 1-4)