Good Night! Good Night!
Carin Berger. Greenwillow, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-240884-6
In crisp paper collages, Berger (Finding Spring) homes in on the coziest of subjects—an aproned bunny mother and three pajama-clad bunnies—as the family shares a bedtime ritual: “Good-night stories. Good-night songs. Good-night hugs. Good-night kisses.” One bunny is gray, another’s brown, and the third is white, a quiet gesture toward inclusiveness, and the deep shadows and dark blue backdrops of Berger’s images provide dramatic visual theater. The bunnies read a story, sing songs (swirly ribbons of printed music pour from their mouths), and the mother bends down to cuddle each bunny, her love drifting in cutout pink hearts up to the ceiling. Suddenly, a cream-colored spread signals a break from the routine: “Dances!” “Dances?” All three bunnies take off, twisting across a spread. The mother bunny obligingly adds this item to the litany: “Here we go... Good-night stories. Good-night songs.... Good-night hugs. Again. Good-night dances.” Cue more shenanigans: “Monsters!” “Jumping beans!” Childish exuberance gleefully alternates with parental restraint until lights out (finally). Meticulous artwork can sometimes drain a story of spirit, but Berger’s careful craftsmanship enhances the warmth of hers. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2016