cover image Nine O'Clock Lullaby

Nine O'Clock Lullaby

Marilyn Singer. HarperCollins Publishers, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-025647-0

A series of bright vignettes provides an ingenious response to children's curiosity about what youngsters in other parts of the world are doing while they themselves are going to bed. Armchair travelers can espy their counterparts dancing at a late-night party in Puerto Rico, raiding the pantry in the wee hours in London, dreaming by the Congo and drawing water from the village well at dawn in India. By the book's end, the scenarios come full circle to 9 p.m., ``sleepytime'' in Brooklyn, N.Y. Enhanced by Lessac's ( Caribbean Canvas ) primitive paintings, Singer's ( Turtle in July ) text ably suits the various locales--a bicycling aunt in China ``pedals quickly, flying like a dragon''; a serene Japanese grandfather ``floats a tulip so the fish can greet the spring.'' Though simple in concept, text and design, the book works on several levels--as a primer on time and the time zones, as an introduction to foreign cultures and as a rhythmic, pleasing lullaby. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)