Many visual stories play out during the night, between the time that a child falls asleep and then awakens.
This winner of the 2015 Silent Book Contest at the Bologna Book Fair may be wordless, but it overflows with stories. It demands that its viewers take their time going through the pages—and then going through them again. The beginning is simple: a light-skinned child falls asleep as an adult woman reads from a book whose cover sports stylized, anthropomorphic animals cavorting around a bonfire. Over several successive pages, the scene pans steadily outward—as with a wide-lens camera—so viewers see the child’s home situated in an urban neighborhood, and then more and more of that neighborhood. Against a backdrop of a starry sky, windows and rooftops of buildings reveal the child’s caregivers embracing, a nurse and patients in a hospital, an artist at an easel, and much more. As the angle widens, more characters emerge, and the initial stories continue. Art emerges on the easel; a crying baby finally sleeps; creatures resembling the bedtime book’s characters leave the city and paddle away on a long boat whose brilliant orange-and-gold pattern matches the sleeping child’s bedspread. Before the sophisticated, mixed-media artwork returns to the cityscapes, there are several joyous, vividly colored pages showing the creatures celebrating the night and the ensuing daybreak.
Alluring, wordless enchantment. (Picture book. 4-9)