Intricate cut-paper borders and figures accompany a set of sleepy-time lyrics and traditional rhymes.
Aside from “All the Pretty Little Ponies,” which is identified as “possibly African American,” the selections are a mostly Eurocentric sampling. It’s a mix of familiar anonymous rhymes (“Oh, how lovely is the evening,” “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, / Bless this bed that I lie on”) and verses from known authors, including Jane Taylor’s “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” (first verse only), Robert Louis Stevenson’s “My Bed is a Boat,” and Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Seal’s Lullaby.” Melodramatic lullabies such as “Rockabye Baby” have been excluded in favor of more pacifistic poems, and in keeping with the cozy tone (though she does show one cat looming hungrily over a mouse hole), Dalton enfolds each entry in delicately detailed sprays of leaves or waves, graceful garlands of flowers, flights of butterflies, and tidy arrangements of natural or domestic items, all set against black or dark backgrounds that intensify the soft colors. A parade of young people—clad in nightclothes and diverse of facial features, hair color and texture, and skin hue—follow a childlike, white angel on the endpapers and pose drowsily throughout.
Effectively soporific, though less broadly diverse in culture than casting. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)