Mary R. Lanni is a librarian and book reviewer.
A description of a tropical moonlit night where animals and other creatures come out to play. An educational poem with beautiful illustrations to help children learn about animals and insects in the jungle.
As the moon rises and many creatures lay down their heads, nocturnal life awakens to its turn to explore the world in velvety darkness. From bugs to owls to crocodiles, many animals venture out into the world at night. Whether stalking prey or avoiding detection, darkness is the perfect place for these creatures to exist. As the night progresses, more and more characters make their appearance, ultimately finding their way back home again as the sun begins to rise.
Originally published as a poem in 2004, this picture book blends artful phrasing with whimsical illustrations to breathe life into many of the activities that take place under cover of darkness. Beautiful, watercolor images are created in layers, at once concealing and revealing many nighttime residents. Careful water droplets give the impression of stars in the sky, while the animals are presented with a dreamlike quality that embraces the mysteries of the night. The illustrations spill over onto the pages with text, where a watermark and small visual enhance the words used in the story.
This captivating poem incorporates rhyme and meter that, while not always consistent, give the nighttime a varied and dynamic rhythmic and musical quality. Line breaks do not always happen where they might be expected, but with practice, readers will internalize the intended phrasing. Ample white space surrounds the large, playful font, while specific words are emphasized in larger letters and complementary colors. The design and presentation of this book make it well suited to readers of all ages, as each reading reveals more secrets hidden in both the images and the text itself.
Ideal as a read aloud, this book connects readers to the power of poetry to describe the world in great detail using a limited quantity of words. The visual component of both the illustrations and the text provide a compelling backdrop for readers, engaging them in the story no matter their reading ability. Because the rhymes vary in their pattern throughout the story, careful consideration will be required to effectively present this story aloud. This is an excellent addition to poetry collections for young readers.