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QUIET NIGHT

Marilyn Singer, Author, John Manders, Illustrator , illus. by John Manders. Clarion $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-618-12044-4

"The moon is big. The moon is bright. A frog bar-rums on a quiet night." But the moonlit woods are actually far from idyllic. With each succeeding spread, Singer (Didi and Daddy on the Promenade) and Manders (Dirt Boy) add cumulatively larger groups of audibly antsy, comically exaggerated animals. "Somebody's got an appetite!" observes a narrator, as the gouaches reveal guilty-looking raccoons chowing down on garbage. These scavengers join a tally of critters ("Six raccoons churr-rurr,/ Five coyotes rowl-yowl,/ Four fish whap-slap,/ Three geese honk-honk,/ Two owls whoo-hoo," plus the original frog) while the animals' attention moves from general noise-making to approaching a dark tent. The species' convergence triggers a slapstick wildlife melee, which in turn provokes the appearance of "10 sleepy campers" and one very bright flashlight. Singer expertly builds her bumptious population to what should be a boffo finish, but the book ends on a weak note: "What a NOISY night!" Manders initially conveys the magic semi-stillness of a night outdoors; as the landscape gradually becomes standing room only, the rich, darker hues become a wonderful visual foil for the burgeoning, goofy critters who get carried away by just doing what comes naturally. Ages 2-6. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/25/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
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