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At Night

by Jonathan Bean

Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. Bean (The Apple Pie That Papa Baked; reviewed below) creates almost magical rhythms in this pitch-perfect story. As the opening pages describe bedtime at the main character's urban house (At night, after her brother and sister went to bed/ long after her parents whispered Good night, happy dreams! and went to sleep), square watercolor panels move from scenes in the emptying hallway and into the girl's room. There, readers learn, she lies AWAKE, and the blank space surrounding the single, jarring word contains all the feeling in the close-up of the girl's face, seen for the first time on the opposite page. The plot is so quiet it would escape a lesser writer: lured by a breeze, the girl brings pillows and bedding up to the roof, followed by her cat (and, unbeknown to her, by her mother). Bean makes a visual poetics of this concept as the square panels now yield to full-spread illustrations. The artist supplies luminous aerial scenes of the roof garden amid a friendly, well-lit cityscape, then zooms out for more panoramic views (She thought about the wide world around her and smiled). His eye returns to rest on an image of the girl and her cat, comfortable at last in an improvised bed, at home in the world. The story breathes reassurance and adventure at the same time-just in case, after the girl has fallen asleep, the mother appears by her side. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)

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School Library Journal : PreS-K—This quiet book tells the story of a city girl who can't sleep. When she feels a breeze blow in through her open window, she gathers pillows, her blanket, and the family cat and follows the wind up to the roof of her building. She doesn't realize that her mother is also awake and is trailing her up the stairs. On the rooftop, the child snuggles into a bed made of two chairs pulled together and contemplates the wide world and the open sky, eventually falling asleep. The final scene shows her mother, sitting next to her and thoughtfully gazing at the full moon. The watercolor illustrations, some full-page, some panels, perfectly depict the shadows, darkness, and light of the slumbering city. The volume's small size makes it most appropriate for sharing one-to-one.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms