cover image Good Night, Mr. Night

Good Night, Mr. Night

Dan Yaccarino. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201319-6

Once again, Yaccarino (Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!, reviewed above) takes to the skies. This time, Night assumes a human form in a calming bedtime tale, whose quiet narration and undulating illustrations have an almost hypnotic quality. As pictured here, Mr. Night is dressed in jet-black and is covered with stars; his eyes are crescent moons. When the sun sets, he ""closes the flowers,/ he quiets the animals,/ and calms the sea."" His shadowy touch has a sedative effect as he slips through the window of the boy narrator (""He gently closes my eyes and I fall fast asleep""). Yaccarino establishes Mr. Night as a benevolent presence who brings only comfort. His black-and-white body stands in contrast to the trees, hillsides and clouds that appear as swoopy curves of flame orange, lush green and midnight blue; the dreamlike pictures suggest the ethereality of smoke curls. Unobtrusive pale-yellow type meshes smoothly with the painterly full-bleed compositions. The sun rises at the close of the book (when the boy says, ""Good night, Mr. Night"")--an innovative twist on so many that begin at morning and end at bedtime. The whitening sky may come as a shock after so many pages of restful colors, but should encourage young children to ease into night with the promise of a new day. The endpapers heighten the story: stars and moon start it off; and, like the narrator, readers bid farewell under sunny skies. Ages 2-7. (Sept.)