cover image Night Lights

Night Lights

Steven Schnur. Farrar Straus Giroux, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-374-35522-7

Schnur's (Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic) soothingly lyrical verses describe a girl's bedtime counting ritual. Beginning with the conch-shaped nightlight she sees in her room (""one seashell on the nursery wall,/ two amber blinking clocks""), the child observes the sources of light as she progresses through the house, then her neighborhood (""thirteen streetlamps light the park""), the city (""fourteen stoplights blink,/ fifteen towers scrape the sky"") and the world beyond. The tally continues to 20, leaps to 50, 100 and finally ""a thousand sparkling fireworks,/ one million twinkling stars!"" The light that pierces the darkness in these pages offers reassurance that all is well. Schuett (Somewhere in the World Right Now) invents a softly muted backdrop of purples and mossy greens to show off the flicker of fireflies, ""gleaming raccoon eyes"" and ""pond-reflected moons"" that undulate in the ripples from a frog's leap. These ever-widening circles of textual and visual imagery create a sense of expansiveness that culminates in an explosion of fireworks and stars. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)