cover image Animal Lullabies

Animal Lullabies

Pam Conrad. HarperCollins Children's Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-024718-8

Joining many other books that catalogue the ways animals put their offspring to sleep, these 10 luminously illustrated animal poems blend scientific descriptions and sounds with plenty of anthropomorphism, solace and bustle: ""`Your momma's on her way,'"" a giraffe whispers to her nephew as ""the skinny child stretches high/ out of the acacia leaves."" Mother beaver calls to her children: ""`Let's wash those faces./ Wipe those feet./ Come on home to me!'/ SLAP! SLAP! WHACKUM!/ goes her tail and whisk--/ her kits come running."" Conrad's (The Tub People) text appears on pages of subdued colors that imitate sunset by gradually changing upward from light to dark. On the opposite page, Cowdrey, in his children's book debut, renders full-page illustrations that focus with close-up lens specificity on large-eyed animal babies and their parents. The alligator mother fiercely guards her baby, who rides camouflaged on her nose, with the moon and stars reflected in the surrounding waters; the graceful swan swims around the lake, silhouetted in moonlight, one last time until ""the swanlings grow tired."" Finally, a golden-eyed owl, unlike the others, urges her daughter to wake up. While the mood of this bedtime collection is not always soporific, it is consistently reassuring as each baby animal is surrounded by comforting, loving adults. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)