Oliver's Wood

Sue Hendra, Author, Sue Hendra, Illustrator Candlewick Press (MA) $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56402-932-4
When Oliver the owl stays up past dawn, he learns that the moonlit and sunlit worlds are as different as, well, night and day. Oliver marvels at ""the big, round, warm, orange sun,"" but his nocturnal friends the hedgehogs, badgers and bats sleep through everything. His only potential playmates are squirrels, rabbits and butterflies--and they are not at all talkative. Oliver feels lonely, so he takes a nap and soon resumes the late shift. Hendra turns the tables on diurnal creatures--such as humans--by presenting darkness and light as basic matters of perspective. Her curvy forest animals, painted in warm rust, gray and brown gouache against a uniform midnight- or baby-blue sky, are quiet and cuddly; the ""snuffle, snuffle"" of the badgers and ""whizz, whizz"" of the bats imply no threat whatsoever. The oversize type, simple shapes and minimal plot best serve beginning readers, and Hendra's gentle animals demystify nightfall even as she puts a sweet spin on the concept of bedtime. Ages 2-4. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1996
Release date: 07/01/1996
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