THE MIDNIGHT FARM by Reeve Lindbergh


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In a soothing counting book, a mother takes a small child out to explore the night world, so that what has seemed dark and mysterious becomes familiar and safe. In her first book for children, Lindbergh uses a poetic cadence well suited to her purpose: ""Here is the dark when day is done,/Here is the dark with no moon or sun,/Here is the dark when all lights are out,/Here is the heart of the dark."" Although some phrases seem artificially contrived to suit rhyme and meter, the whole makes a satisfyingly comforting, soporific chant. But the book's glory is its illustrations. In her usual style, using fine-line pen, ink, dyes, and gouache, Jeffers has created a series of mellow, muted double-spread compositions--one old dog curled up in the hall chair, three raccoons in a hole in the maple tree, four white geese behind a delicate veil of willow leaves, six cows (well, really four cows and two calves) in the barn, nine deer (beautiful but not easy to count, with several reflected in a pond), ten mice romping over a wall as the cherub sleeps at last, arms round Mother's neck, alert fox standing by. Best of all is the jacket portrait of the carefully defined, round-cheeked Rubensian child, cheek-to-cheek with an affectionate black horse. Never mind that nostalgically lovely farms like this grow increasingly rare--this is an enchanting bedtime book.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1987
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dial