cover image HUSHABYE LILY


Claire Freedman, , illus. by John Bendall-Brunello. . Scholastic/ Orchard, $15.95 (26pp) ISBN 978-0-439-47106-0

It may take a village to raise a child but, according to this inviting bedtime book, it takes a barnyard to coax a baby rabbit to sleep. At first, Lily thinks the farmyard sounds make it too hard to sleep, but she and her mother discover that the noisemakers are actually preparing to bed down themselves—and they're happy to lend Lily a hand. "Are we keeping you awake?" says a duck. "We were only singing sleepy bedtime songs to one another. Would you like me to sing a song to you, too?" A "soft-eyed" cow tells Lily a bedtime story and a hen collects extra straw for Lily's bed. Bendall-Brunello (I Love You This Much) ushers readers into this idyllic rural community with twilight washes of watercolor and light-as-a-feather pencil or crayon strokes. His chiffon textures and openhearted characterizations meld beautifully with the sweet snugness of Freedman's (Where's Your Smile, Crocodile?) lilting prose. In a particularly appealing interlude, the animals issue a chorus of hushabyes, which Bendall-Brunello incorporates into his pictures as zephyrs of text. " 'Shhh,' hushed the ducks to the rippling reeds. 'Shhh' hushed the cows to the leaves on the trees. 'Shhh,' hushed the hens into the whispering wind." A humorous ending does not undercut the soothing, tranquil mood. Ages 2-6. (June)