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THE DROWSY HOURS by Susan Pearson


Poems for Bedtime

edited by Susan Pearson, illustrated by Peter Malone

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: June 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-688-16603-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

A modest collection of 16 sleepytime poems, most of them dating from the first half of the last century, with gently surreal illustrations. The design is such that each two-page spread functions as a single unit, with the left-hand-side image or images facing the right-hand page of text. This allows the illustrator a free imaginative rein, so that some pictures are bizarrely fanciful and others gently straightforward; they reflect and enhance the poems in unexpected ways. The classic “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” which takes up four pages, plays a Victorian-inspired trio in their wooden shoe boat against a thoroughly modern mom in bare feet and chinos gazing at her babe in a trundle bed. Carl Sandburg’s “Baby Toes” (“There is a blue star, Janet, / Fifteen years’ ride from us, / If we ride a hundred miles an hour”) is paired with a female pilot holding sky charts and a small child sitting in the pilot’s seat of a bi-plane. Lilian Moore’s gorgeous “The Bridge” shows a boy looking out at a bridge from his window, having built bridges on the floor of his room with piles of books as suspension. The North Wind in Vachel Lindsay’s “The Moon’s the North Wind’s Cooky” is a startling, spiky figure with punk hair and bright blue shoes. The illustrator sneaks in the cover of another book he’s illustrated in the marvelous split-screen high-rise view for Norma Farber’s “Manhattan Lullaby.” This sophisticated collection does what it sets out to do, and should give bedtime readers food for dreams. (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)