Lewis (I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, 2000) pens 15 rhythmic quatrains designed to lull a child to sleep.
A mother readies a little girl for bed, promising a night of adventures. “Nighttime says a quick ‘Sleep tight’ / To the fading morning glories— / Then wakes up all the moonflowers / And listens to their stories.” Succeeding verses present woodland vignettes focused on mice, moths, crickets and other nocturnal creatures. Before the concluding tuck-in, there’s a six-page interstice about daytime, as Mr. Moon nods off: “Say good morning to Miss Sunshine / And the company she keeps.” The cadences sometimes bump, and sense is occasionally sacrificed for rhyme: “The butterflies have gone to sleep, / Their wings no longer flapping, / Making room for the nighttime moths, / Their soft gray wings now tapping.” Corace’s full-bleed watercolors often charm: Three nested owlets await mother’s return in a many-branched, stylized tree against a turquoise sky bright with stars. Creatures bear little relationship in size, either within or between the double spreads; the moon’s shadowed side shifts from right to left and back. The teal-and-sepia–dominated palette suits the subject. Contrasting large, opaque color fields with details of animal and plant life and playing visually with indoor/outdoor motifs like toy and real animals, the pictures try to do too much.
A pretty, sturdy-enough bedtime story, but not more. (Picture book. 3-5)