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Friday, July 20, 2012

Night Knight, written and illustrated by Owen Davey. Candlewick, Random House. 2012. $18.00 ages 3 and up

" I head down the hallway...

and climb the stairs.

Then I have a bath...

and brush my teeth."

I cannot do justice to this imaginative and beautifully drawn nighttime adventure. Going to bed is often a challenge for little ones; parents can attest to that. To say that for this little boy is to understate it entirely!

You get a sense of adventure, with a touch of fatigue, upon first meeting said knight on the cover. Open that cut-out invitation and discover the same young boy sporting a colander on his head. The mouth is yawning, the eyes are closed...bedtime is in the cards. Much will happen prior to the final descent into slumber.

The title page pictures the young man as artist drawing a trusty steed, fashioned after the unicorn-type model that sits atop his drawing table. A yawn erupts from both boy and knight. Their pages face each other, as both succumb at the end of a busy day. With each turn of the page we are privy to the shared adventures of the ritual...both real and imagined.

The collage artwork is glorious and heraldic; using a palette of deep burgundy, tangerine, and harvest gold, Owen Davey composes his pages to show readers what a true knight's quest might encompass. Using wide variety in perspective we watch as the young knight crosses crocodile-infested waters, bids bold dragon Rex good night, makes his way to his castle home, climbs the turret to his bedroom window, lowers his dark-inducing visor and bids his mighty steed good rest.

A simply written text, familiar to the nightly routines of most young children, is made adventurous and compelling in the detailed medieval illustrations.   Watch carefully, there is much to discover!

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