Snuggling families, whether human or animal, are comforting and reassuring presences at bedtime.
Bookended by sentimentalized portraits of a white mother and two small white children in their pajamas, the verse starts off with exalted language: “When Mother Earth bids goodnight, / she casts her shafts of silver light. / She says: ‘Goodnight, my precious ones.’ / Nature’s song has just begun.” The scene switches to the natural world and successive double-page spreads are filled with lush, vibrantly colored paintings that usually show a parent animal and its young one(s) at night in their environment. Rhyming couplets describe each scene, not always smoothly: “Nene young quieting, / get warm below their mama’s wing,” reads the text as the illustration presents goslings and their mother among hibiscus blooms. The animal paintings are realistic and engaging, but there is no sense of accurate scale. The animals included are threatened or endangered by issues including human encroachment, climate change, and animal predators. These are described briefly in the backmatter. There is an unfortunate editorial mistake; a description of a red-tailed Amazon parrot has been substituted for the toucan pictured in the primary text. The book ends with an upbeat page, inexplicably lacking illustrations but detailing a few animals whose numbers have recently rebounded. There is no map and only one web resource.
With its undistinguished poetry but warm feelings and appealing paintings, this is an additional choice for some home libraries. (Informational picture book. 5-7)