In this poignant import, a lonely badger who hasn’t slept in 30 years discovers Night hiding under her sofa and pops it into a cake tin.
Though Elsa initially expresses indifference that the constant daylight has everyone in town stumbling wearily about, she soon releases her captive. Giving it a cup of blackberry juice, she confides that she lost the ability to sleep through years of lighthouse tending with beloved elephant companion Olaf and, later, alone. Following tears and a shared outing to Olaf’s grave, she drops off at last, whereupon Night tenderly lifts her up and then passes back through town breathing cool winds and going “from house to house, tucking everyone into bed.” Elsa and the other city residents sport dot-eyed animal heads in Mellgren’s blocky, screen-printed scenes. Night starts off as a small, featureless blue blot but grows as the pages turn, ultimately acquiring stars and silhouetted buildings with lit windows as it spreads over emptied streets.
A subdued, mildly soporific bedtime story with sophisticated emotional and metaphorical levels to explore for those so inclined. (Picture book. 5-8)