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Friday, June 30, 2017

Time Now To Dream, written by Timothy Knapman and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2017. $y23.00 ages 4 and up

"I want to be home,"
said Jack. "I want to be
warm and wearing my
pajamas. I want to be
snuggled down deep."

"We have to be brave,"
said Alice.

And that's when they heard
it, very close now."

Jack and his big sister Alice are playing in their yard at the edge of the woods when they hear a strange sound. It is soothing, yet eerie and has the power to draw the two into a search for its source. Jack is skeptical, Alice wants to be brave. She takes his small hand and offers soothing reassurances as they walk through the woods.

Jack remains unsure, worrying that it might be the Wicked Wolf. He longs for home and his warm, snuggly pajamas. Alice wants them to continue on, until the sound becomes louder and NEARER. Her bravado suddenly vanishes and she wants to head for home. Now it's Jack's turn to show bravery and wonder. He wants Alice to stay. He knows it's a wolf ... but not a scary one!

"The Wolf isn't wicked," said Jack.
"The wolf is a mommy. That's what
the noise is! Mommy Wolf is singing
her babies to sleep!


So she is. Listening carefully, they can now hear the song they heard from their yard. It is much clearer now they are closer. It has the desired effect as the wolf cubs drift off, leaving the siblings to find their way home to their own comfy beds for peaceful rest.

A lovely story, told with warmth and a touch of mystery, it will be a welcome addition to the bedtime pile at my house. Helen Oxenbury's pencil and watercolor art is done in cool greens and blues. Darkened as they make their way further into the woods, then brightened with filtered light as they find their way home effectively changes mood for her audience. The double page spread where Mama is singing to her babies is wistful. It is a visual treat for all who share it.


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