cover image Step Into the Night

Step Into the Night

Joanne Ryder. Four Winds, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-02-777951-6

Ryder ( Inside the Turtle's Shell and The Night Flight ) artfully blends poetry and science in this richly illustrated book about a girl who stands ``like a shadow / against a tall dark tree . . . to see the night begin.'' As ``a chunk of moon / shines above the treetops,'' one by one, animals appear. Throughout, the narration is second-person, addressing first the girl and then the creatures of the night. ``You are a month old,'' refers to a brown mouse holding ``soft berries, eat-me red,'' while the girl looks on. A skunk, a mole, a firefly, a spider in ``a patch of lace / across an empty space,'' a frog who sings ``floating in the darkness''to each the girl says goodnight and then quietly ``leaves the night behind.'' Ryder's lyrical, compelling language and Nolan's extraordinary paintingsfull of depth and light, in a photorealistic styleare as breathtaking as the night itself. Ages 5-8. (September)