In this achingly loving interpretation of the indie band Cub Country’s lullaby, a mother cuddles her sleepy son, picturing his dream wanderings in the natural world and wishing him well on his nighttime journeys.
McClure’s cut– and torn–black-paper illustrations carve out nocturnal landscapes in shadowy blues and blacks, with white bringing lightness in sharp relief. The boy shifts shape, turning into a fox, an owl, a seabird and even a fluttering leaf. Young readers will flip back to the book’s endpapers, pointing to the cherished toys and objects scattered in the boy’s bedroom that drift into his dreams. Marvelous double-page spreads feel like nature hunts themselves in their beautiful complexity, initiated on the first page with a full moon that’s dotted with light by small, circular cutouts. And with a page turn, the boy’s sleeping breath turns to stardust, and readers float off with him across sparkling sand dunes and rippling grasses. Many of the song’s lyrics will be lost in the ether. “And there will come a new dune. / May the sand wash over you.” Children won’t know what to make of such lines, but McClure’s masterful illustrations make both the mother’s intense connection to her son and his dazzling dreams lucid. (The song is available for download on the publisher’s website.)
A richly imagined dreamscape in a feat of paper artistry. (Picture book. 4-6)