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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Switching on the Moon, collected by Jane Yolen and and Andrew Fusek Peters, with illustrations by G. Brian Karas. Candlewick, Random House. 2010. $26.00 ages birth and up

"Tonight my puppy woke me up
by climbing in my bed.
His cushion looks so comfortable
I'll sleep on it instead.
If he dreams of ice cream cones
and trips to outer space,
will I dream of chewy bones
and finding cats to chase?"

Switch by Marilyn Singer

Please tell me that every time a baby is born in your family or within your circle of friends, the first thing you think to buy is a book! It is a present to be opened again and again....and may be the one that the grown child never wants to give up. Now, there's a lifelong gift!

To that end I am always delighted to see a new collection, especially for little ones. This one is a companion to Here's A Little Poem (Candlewick, 2007) by the same authors. I have given it as a gift numerous times and now I can double the parents' pleasure. There's one for the daytime and now one for bedtime. This lovely book is the same size...big and full of sixty poems meant to be shared at night, but sure to please at any time of day!


Why can't I go to bed dirty?
What's so special about being clean?
I am dirty today. I'll get dirty again.
So why bother to wash in between?
                      Jo Ellen Bogart"

They are arranged in three groupings, each having importance in the bedtime rituals of many families. The first is Going to Bed, followed by Sweet Dreams and finally, In The Night.  Anyone who has raised children will remember there are, indeed, distinct differences from one to the next.

"The Dream Keeper

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamers,
Bring me all of your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue cloud-cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.
              Langston Hughes"

There is so much here to read, enjoy and read again. It could be the 'just  right' bedtime book for a long period of time. What more can we ask...time at the end of the day to delight in words, to sit cosily sharing those delightful words and to wind down from the many daily routines of living. Ah, sweet peaceful place!

Hopefully that lovely quiet peace will afford a nighttime waker a feeling that lasts:

"In The Night

When I wake up and it is dark
      And very far from day
I sing a humming sort of tune
      To pass the time away.

I hum it loud, I hum it soft,
       I hum it low and deep,
And by the time I'm out of breath
       I've hummed myself to sleep.
                   Marchette Chute"
G. Brian Karas' rich deep colors, mixed media textures and shadowy infused light add just the right touch and offer a setting that is sure to encourage quiet talk and relaxation. An index of first lines and of the poets themselves is most helpful.

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