Monday, November 2, 2015

The Night World

Booklist starred (March 15, 2015 (Vol. 111, No. 14))
Preschool-Grade 1. Caldecott Medalist Gerstein delights and inspires readers in this meditation on the night. A sleeping boy is awakened by a “meow.” The cat on his bed, Sylvie, wants to go outside, even as the boy protests it’s too early. But out of the dark house—“Is this our house?”—they creep, and Sylvie, who can now speak, tells the boy, “It’s coming.” Several stunning two-page spreads executed in shades of black and charcoal and dotted by hundreds of bright stars bring the nighttime world close. Then animals step out of the shadows, making the outdoors pulse with life. By the time birds appear in the trees, the shadows are lifting, and the stars fade into the glow of morning. Glorious sunlit spreads capture not just the look of a breaking dawn but the haunting feel of watching night turn to day. Gerstein is at the top of his game here, capturing a nearly inexpressible mood. Beginning with the very darkest shades while the boy is in the house (with only the green eyes of the cat or the whites of the boy’s eyes for color) makes readers look and look again, and once they are outside, the animals’ stirrings will have children pointing at the darkened pages with delight. The strong yet simple message impresses: look around; there are so many wonderful things to see.

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