CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 18 . . . . January 13, 2012
In this brief bedtime story, intended to evoke "a quiet nighttime in Prince Edward Island," a child, tucked in bed, drifts toward sleep as do other children living on similar streets. Meantime, doting parents talk fondly of their sleeping children. Outside, birds quieten, animals fall into slumber and dreamtime has begun.
The gentle text, depicting an ideal of love and security in a traditional family setting, has a beguiling turn of phrase. The stylized illustrations in rich warm tones are endearing, revealing sleeping foxes, a brightly coloured bed quilt and a teddy bear clutched in a sleepy child's arms. The layout is clear and attractive with bold text on brightly coloured plain pages facing the illustrations.
Despite the book's outward appeal, the reader is left with a sense of disappointment because the story lacks complexity, never really engaging the reader except on a superficial level. Techniques commonly used to appeal to very young children, including storyline motifs, repetition or patterning, are absent, as are whimsical details in the illustrations that would pique a child's imagination. As a bedtime story, with its limited pages (24 instead of the standard 32) and such an abbreviated storyline, it fails to satisfy.
Deirdre Kessler is an award-winning writer who has authored many children's books and who teaches creative writing at the University of Prince Edward Island. This is Christina Patterson's first children's book, but her artwork has won numerous awards. With the evident skills of both the author and illustrator, this book, aimed at two to four-year-olds, could have been much more.
Recommended with reservations.
Aileen Wortley, a retired librarian, resides in Toronto, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.