The day is ending, but everything waits for Max to open the Night Box and let the darkness into the air.
“Day slips out of the leaves” as Max’s mother calls him in for bedtime. The gold light of late afternoon fills the sky, and the shadows are long. Max gets ready for bed, and his mother kisses him goodnight. Then the midnight-blue box in the corner of his room is ready to be opened with his key. Lindsay’s clean, delicate lines and subdued palette perfectly complement and interpret Greig’s precise, quiet, and lighthearted poetic text. Small creatures and flowers, tall trees with delicate leaves, and graceful, spare, sweeping landscapes surround Max as the dark flows around them. The language is delicious: “Night shakes itself into the trees.” The “night is huge,” encompassing not only Max’s house, but the pond, the forest, the ocean. And the “night is brave,” concealing and guarding a doe and her fawn. It confers gifts, matching up moon and pond, a fox and a rose, Max and “a bear and a soft, warm bed.” At every turn the darkness and the night seem to be big and mysterious yet magical and somehow intimate.
Max’s power to take charge of night and to celebrate as he lets day out “and a new song begins” is evocative, simple, and reassuring. (Picture book. 3-6)