Review by Logaine Navascués
Sterling Children’s Books, Sterling Publishing, October 2019
64 pages, hardcover, $26.95 CAD, 978-1-4549-3477-6
Ages 3-7, Grades Pre K-2
Illustrated by twenty-four award-winning picture book artists
This evocative picture book is a treasure for the senses. Through the intimate vision of some of the world’s best children’s books illustrators, it brings together Margaret Wise Browns’ poems previously published in two separate volumes: Goodnight Songs and A Celebration of the Seasons. These unknown poem fragments and manuscripts, which were hidden inside a trunk for decades, are accompanied by the delicate compositions of singer-songwriter duo Tom Proutt and Emily Gary, who translated her words into music (available for purchase on their website).
The poems are whimsical and each illustration gives the reader a little glimpse into an oneiric, ethereal world as a collection of award-winning artists interpret Wise Brown’s words through fantastic, dreamlike illustrations. From animals floating in their sleep in “The Noon Balloon”to the sedating sound of dancing waves in the sweet lullaby “Mambian Melody,”a soothing effect is created by the rhythm of words and images. Sometimes, Wise Brown’s playful text surprises with a burst of fresh energy, as in the“Bunny Jig” poem, which evokes those last instants of vitality just before one drowses off to sleep.
As a delicate treat, these poems can be enjoyed one by one, taking the time to find their own pace and hear their unique musicality. But they can also be read as one long song, a hymn that pays tribute to children’s sense of wonder and capacity to daydream. This is a true bedtime delight for both children and grown-ups.
Logaine Navascués is a Peruvian artist, writer, creative director, teacher and book maker, currently living in Vancouver. She is the proud mother of a beautiful daughter and two artist’s books. You can find her reading, collecting picturebooks and eating chocolate while pursuing her MA in Children’s Literature at UBC.