With a rhythm similar to Mem Fox’s Time for Bed (1993), fishes croon, a turtledove coos, an otter utters and other animals otherwise sing bedtime praises to a tired little girl. What sets this lullaby apart are Tillman’s dramatic, digitally created illustrations, enhanced with chalk, watercolor and pencil. As in her recent On the Night You Were Born (2007), a menagerie of wildlife appears, from a crouching frog in a foggy pond to a mother and a baby tiger wrapped in flowering jungle vines, all preparing for sleep against detailed, luminescent backgrounds. When the text reaches the refrain, “So, go to sleep, my love,” the little girl is carried or nestled by panda, swan or reindeer. And just as the girl finally reaches sleep, the cast of creatures arrive by foot and hot-air balloon to bring her dreams to her. Readers of Tillman’s previous title will also recognize the reappearance of the glistening moon, this time at the quarter, which blows sparkles of light across the evening sky. A luxuriant bedtime retreat for children and parents alike.
As children nestle down to sleep, much of the natural world around us is also settling down for the night. This soft picture-book call to slumber serves as a reassuring bedtime hug for any “just one more story” coaxer. Nancy Tillman’s comforting animal illustrations and Eric Metaxes’ gentle lullaby set just the right tone.
As in On the Night You Were Born, the words directly address a young listener with comforting, fanciful imagery . . . Culminating in a final scene of a sleeping child in a floating bed under a watchful moon, this gentle, tender offering will buoy children with its strong messages of safety and love.