WAKE UP, CITY; GOODNIGHT, COUNTRY

Susan Verlander, Author, Chronicle Books, Author . Chronicle $13.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8118-4136-8 ISBN 978-0-8118-4172-6

If Margaret Wise Brown and Leonard Weisgard had illustration software for the Noisy Books, they might have created these two volumes. Verlander's twin debuts include oversize, emotive typography and sleek digital graphics, and they feature one simple noun-plus-verb combination per page. Wake Up begins with blue endpapers full of "zzzs," a full-page "rring aling aling" and crowded images of urban streets and apartments: "subways rumble/ tummies grumble/ .../ newspapers appear/ morning is here!" It closes with ochre endpapers full of wide-awake, onomatopoeic sounds. Goodnight opens with the chattery endpapers in yellow, moves to a dinner bell's "ding ding ding" and pictures scenes from a farmhouse at sundown: "bats squeak/ porch swings creak/ .../ dreams appear/ nighttime is here!" It closes with twilight-blue "zzzs" as children go to bed. Verlander's zingy verbs suggest the commotion of the concrete space ("jackhammers drill") and the natural one ("fireflies zoom"), while her flattened graphics and hot colors recall J. Otto Seibold. This matched pair of books is more a design exercise than a unique effort, but it neatly chronicles everyday events in two locales. Ages 2-6. (May)

Reviewed on: 06/14/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
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