A tender bedtime tale set in a too-seldom-seen northern world.

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IN THE SKY AT NIGHTTIME

A quiet book for putting young children to bed in a state of snowy wonder.

The magic of the north comes alive in a picture book featuring Inuit characters. In the sky at nighttime, snow falls fast. / … / In the sky at nighttime, a raven roosts atop a tall building. / … / In the sky at nighttime, a mother’s delicate song to her child arises like a gentle breeze.” With the repetition of the simple, titular refrain, the author envisions what happens in a small town at night: Young children see their breath in the cold; a hunter returns on his snowmobile; the stars dazzle in the night sky. A young mother rocks her baby to sleep with a song and puts the tot down with a trio of stuffed animals: hare, polar bear, seal. The picture book evokes a feeling of peace as the street lamps, northern lights, and moon illuminate the snow. The illustrations are noteworthy for the way they meld the old world with what it looks like to be a modern Indigenous person: A sled dog and fur-lined parkas combine easily with the frame houses, a pickup truck, power lines, and mobile-hung crib. By introducing Indigenous characters in an unremarkably familiar setting, the book reaches children who don’t always see themselves in an everyday context.

A tender bedtime tale set in a too-seldom-seen northern world. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77227-238-3

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and...

GOODNIGHT SONGS

ILLUSTRATED BY TWELVE AWARD-WINNING PICTURE BOOK ARTISTS

It’s a treasure trove: one dozen previously unpublished lyrical songs illustrated by the likes of Jonathan Bean, Carin Berger and Melissa Sweet.

In an introduction, estate editor Amy Gary explains how she found a trunk in Brown’s sister’s barn filled with unpublished manuscripts with Brown’s handwritten notes along with musical scores of her words. They were written in 1952, the last year of her life, when she was traveling in France for a book tour and under contract to create songs for a new children’s record company. Brown’s intent was to capture the spirit of a child’s world in her songs as she had done with her stories. As the opening to “The Secret Song” demonstrates, the simple rhymes have Brown’s trademark charm: “Who saw the petals / Drop from the rose? / ‘I,’ said the spider. / ‘But nobody knows.’ / Who saw the sunset / Flash on a bird? / ‘I,’ said the fish. / ‘But nobody heard.’ ” Each song is presented on one double-page spread, each illustrated by a different artist (uncredited until an ending recap), in a rather staid book design that does not rise to meet the buoyancy of the lyrics.

Nevertheless, children will enjoy the whimsical scenes, and adult mavens of children’s literature will appreciate and delight in the background of the discovery. (CD) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0446-5

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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MOTHER GOOSE PICTURE PUZZLES

Hillenbrand introduces the idea of rebuses to newly emergent readers with a gathering of likely-to-be-familiar Mother Goose rhymes—from “Hey diddle, diddle, / the [cat] and the [fiddle]” to “Twinkle, twinkle, little [star].” To make the translations ultra-easy, he provides literal visual interpretations for each rhyme in good-humored cartoon scenes featuring smiling people or animals, generally in country dress and settings. (He moderates verisimilitude for the audience appropriately: Jill’s fallen male companion and Humpty Dumpty are unhappy after their accidents but plainly not grievously injured.) He even labels the relevant figures, all of whom or which are larger versions of the rebuses: “cake,” “baker’s man” and “baby,” for instance, or “hill,” “pail,” “water” and “crown (another word for top of head).” As a technique for promoting visual and verbal literacy at once this game has a good track record, and young audiences put off by the crudely illustrated likes of Blanche Fisher Wright’s Real Mother Goose Picture Word Rhymes (1916, 1987) or the much older Mother Goose in Hieroglyphics (1849, 1973) will both enjoy and benefit from this shorter but more child-friendly outing. (Nursery rhymes. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5808-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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