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Monday, August 17, 2015

Song for a Summer Night: A Lullaby. Written by Robert Heidbreder and illustrated by Qin Leng. Groundwood Books, 2015. $17.95 ages 3 and up

"While night air keeps singing
its soft lullaby,
the tired-out moon
seeks its bed in the sky.
Then animals leave,
on feet or on wings,
but the summer night song
lingers on as it sings."

The four children who grace the cover of this very special book show their excitement for the events to come. As daylight fades and night awaits, they join with their friends and neighbors to delight in the coming dark, and all that it promises.

As the pink in the sky settles toward the horizon, the children watch from their windows. There is much to see and savor, to hear and enjoy in an ever-growing cumulative collection of sounds.

"Night owl hoo-hoo
Weave a musical strain
to the click-click of cricket's
rhythmic  refrain.


As the night animals and sounds grow in number and the cool of the evening entices, the children leave the inner warmth of their homes to take in the cool of the evening, and explore. They appear to be mesmerized by the action and joy they find in celebrating the beauty of their natural surroundings. The moon rises. The animals seek shelter. The children return to their rooms, drawing their curtains against the darkening sky, succumbing to slumber:

"They slip into beds,
             eyes shut sleep-tight.
             They know singing dreams
             will ring round them all night."

Then, morning arrives and they greet a new day with all the exuberance that comes with being young, active and excited about all that a new day brings ... and the night that will follow it once again.

Absolutely lovely, and meant to be shared for many nights to come. It will evoke childhood memories for the adults who share it and spark stories from days long past. Qin Leng has created memorable artwork using ink and brush, and painted digitally. The light changes create a contrast between warm and cool; the children are joyful and show their great pleasure in the experiences they are sharing; the color palette is perfect to create the mood that will make this book a favorite for bedtime reading. Another book for Sicily's book shelf ... I can't wait to share it with her!

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