cover image Morning, Noon, and Night

Morning, Noon, and Night

Jean Craighead George, Wendell Minor. HarperCollins, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-023628-1

In precise, lyrical language George celebrates the daily activities of animals from dawn to dusk. When morning comes, ""the stork puts down his other foot./ The killdeer stretches her white-striped wings,/ and the cardinal sings,/ `Good morning, the sun. Cheer, Cheer.' "" Concrete details are cradled in language that evokes the turning of the earth from one day to the next, placing the animals' specific activities in a wider context: ""The earth has turned from dawn to light/ and work begins./ The lark feeds her nestlings./ The eagle goes hunting..../ and the bees buzz their message, `Work, Work.' "" Minor, previously paired with George for Arctic Son, offers splendid views of the countryside from Maine to the Pacific and back again. His paintings show bats in the Sonora Desert, bison in the Great Plains and Canadian geese in the Rocky Mountains. Not all the creatures George mentions fit into the serenely composed landscapes or appear in the occasional facing silhouettes; on the other hand, some pictured animals are not named in the text (endnotes, however, identify sites and species). The result is a more challenging offering than the usual nature book. Few children will be able to resist George's lullaby of animals or Minor's appealing cover portrait of a raccoon who seems to be just begging for a turn of the page. Ages 3-8. (May)