A young narrator says goodnight to his cat, Sylvie, who later wakes him to beckon him to an adventure in the early hours.
In Gerstein’s pen, ink, and acrylic art against gray paper, the night world of hallway, sleeping family, front walk, and garden is recognizable—yet everything is shadowed and quiet. When child and cat step out of the house, a stippling of bright stars across the night sky echoes the sweeping Milky Way reproduced on the endpapers. Gerstein’s darkness has softness and depth: here the night world is benign, and for all its strangeness, it is simply, though possibly magically, different. The narrator hears animal voices expressing expectation (“It’s almost here”); he speaks with his cat and with a porcupine on his front lawn. He hears the increasing volume of birdsong; the sky pales with light; a bear in the shadows slips away as the dawn arrives. Children lucky enough to experience a summer night in the country—or even the suburbs—without artificial light may get to experience this arrival of early morning, which has its own fanfare: at first mysterious, then spectacular, bold, bright. Gerstein’s morning sky practically sings its own hymn. Everything in the young protagonist’s world looks different in the daytime: the front walkway, bright roses, and sunflowers.
A beautifully realized and delightful celebration of night and sunrise. (Picture book. 3-7)