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MUSHROOM LULLABY by Kenneth Kraegel Kirkus Star


by Kenneth Kraegel ; illustrated by Kenneth Kraegel

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-5362-1941-8
Publisher: Candlewick

This bedtime fantasy features an intimate glimpse into the imagined world of fungi.

Short sentences, lilting rhymes, and harmonious visuals help viewers grasp the subject matter: “This is a mushroom that grows in the park. / This is a mushroom that glows in the dark.” Kraegel invites readers in by showing a homey mushroom dwelling and switching to the second person; since the “you” is never depicted, all will feel included. Friends are welcome, too: A snail, caterpillar, ladybug, and butterflies visit. They play volleyball, strategize chess moves, and sip lemonade under the flowers. A nearly square trim size and ink-and-watercolor compositions with an abundance of curves and rounded shapes create a setting filled with quiet joy and a sense of security. Stippling and other surface patterns provide texture and gradations of light. As the day winds down, the warm palette becomes even more intense, with glowing embers in the fireplace and deep orange-red walls and décor. The cozy interior is filled with neatly arranged toys, books, musical instruments, and stuffed animals. Stars and the moon are visible through the circular window, and as the view pans out to portray a community of mushroom homes in all their glorious variety, listeners learn that while it is time to “turn out the light,” they are wished “sweet dreams, / a soft rest… // and a very good night.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A mycological charmer.

(Picture book. 3-6)