cover image HUSHABYE


John Burningham, . . Knopf, $14.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-81414-3

In a simple narrative featuring intermittent rhyme, Burmingham's (Cloudland) quirky lullaby introduces a handful of weary characters. A cat with a stroller has "had a hard day and/ now needs a place for/ her kittens to stay./ Hushabye." A baby has "been sailing/ a boat on the sea/ and now needs to sleep./ Hushabye." Also ready to rest are three travel-weary valise-toting bears climbing a staircase, a fatigued fish and "the man in the moon,/ he'll be sound asleep soon," sprawled out on his crescent. The text and ingenuous, inventively layered artwork reveal the sleeping spot each selects, which range from rather conventional (the cat family cuddles together in a hayloft) to outlandish (the baby curls up—all alone—in a tiny boat, floating on a pink sea). Realistic pen-and-ink drawings appear underneath the text, complementing the vividly hued, droll illustrations opposite. In the end, Burningham effectively draws readers into his tale, concluding on a soothing note with words that beg to be whispered: "Your head's on the pillow./ You'll soon be asleep./Hushabye/hushabye/ hush." Ages 3-7. (Oct.)