cover image A Book of Sleep

A Book of Sleep

Il Sung Na, . . Knopf, $15.99 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-375-86223-6

“When the sky grows dark and the moon glows bright, everyone goes to sleep... except for the watchful owl.” The sleep habits of the delicate creatures in Na's debut (“Some sleep standing up, While some sleep on the move!”) seem almost incidental to the soothing, captivating aura that emanates from every spread. Na's textural images recall the lightheartedness and limpid charm of Paul Klee. Against nighttime fields of gray and blue, the animals are tinted with hot pinks and sunny yellows, and embellished with delicate black outlines, fine flowers and other flourishes. There are moments of quiet humor—a flock of oblong birds warily napping with one eye open on a telephone wire—as well as those that emphasize contented sleep (giraffes' heads rest on clouds overhead, while penguins “sleep all together, huddled close at night”). It's the rare picture book that, upon arrival, feels as though it has been around for years already; Na's belongs to this group. Ages 1–5. (Sept.)