A prolific children’s poet offers an eclectic collection of nighttime pieces.
Opossums, space creatures, the Sandman, dream catchers, and Halloween trick-or-treaters—this inviting book of poems for ages 6 to 12 celebrates dusk to dawn as a world of possibility where nature and flights of fancy coexist. Using different forms (haiku, free verse, couplets, quatrains, and more), Howell (Gibber, 2016, etc.) shapes her rhythms and rhymes with a keen appreciation for the subjects and wordplay most likely to engage her target audience. They are matched on every page by debut illustrator Povarchik’s fluid watercolor-and-ink images (of wildlife, imaginary beasts, and white siblings), employing a bright, varied palette. The poet’s lyrical universe is a place where back-to-back haiku (“5 P.M.” and “5 A.M.”) contrast whispered secrets as “the wind scrambles by” with the view of “tall and patient” sunflowers anticipating the coming day; where fireflies “skitter” and “flitter” and the Sandman “slippers into the night”; where “Beehives of buildings /…Glow honey-yellow”; where dusk can be “as thick / As chocolate cake”; and where, when bats fly, “The silver of moon / Glistens a bit / On the black on black, / On the flitter and flit.” From a child’s thoughts about the cosmos and fairy rings to campfire ponderings, shooting stars, and pillow fights, Howell’s witty and wise visions of night flow along until “The skillet sky / Warms up / To a pale buttery yellow.”
This verbal and visual treat portrays the evening as a lively and thought-provoking place of wonder.