Set to the tender night song’s standard English text, a suite of muted scenes features a drowsy, tousled child in bed beneath stars and angels.
Using long, visible strokes of brush and colored pencil, Alizadeh sets figures that look like small wooden dolls in misty scenes lit dimly by a candle, a moon with dots for eyes or informally drawn stars within pale nimbuses. Along with a parent at the beginning and near the end, doves, clouds and lambent-winged guardian angels hover as the young sleeper drifts off in gentle stages. This edition comes without a musical arrangement, and despite the titular refrain, the 19th-century translation from the Welsh doesn’t always read trippingly, for example, of angels: “They should of all fears disarm you, / No foreboding should alarm you. // They will let no peril harm you….” Still, the aforementioned refrain creates a soothing rhythm that anchors the song’s assurance of peaceful slumber.
The lyrics are better when sung—in either language—but their tone is properly echoed in these sweet, soft-focus illustrations. (Picture book. 2-4)