cover image My Night Forest

My Night Forest

Roy Owen. Four Winds, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-02-769005-7

A poetic exploration of the senses serves as a bedtime story in this resonant book. ``If I could see what the owl sees/ I think I could see where the young salmon go,'' the text begins, then piles up images that facilitate readers' perceptions of the world around them-if I could hear what the wolf hears, the child narrator continues, if I could smell like the bear, taste like the deer, touch like the mouse. Past and future begin to fuse visually and textually as the child is put gently to bed: ``If I could touch what the mouse touches/ I think I could feel... all of the babies who have slept here before me.'' First-time illustrator Cordova infuses the tale with vibrant, Hispanic folk imagery, framing each page with motifs that flow from the text. The compositions themselves vary in strength-the human characters look awkward, but the animals are so tenderly and sensuously rendered as to invite the reader's touch. Ages 1-7. (Sept.)