cover image Before I Go to Sleep

Before I Go to Sleep

Ann Pilling, Anne Pilling. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-517-58018-9

In this 96-page collection, 21 familiar stories from the Old and New Testaments are presented in language that is simple without being condescending--Daniel slays Goliath, the infant Moses is rescued from the river, the wise men seek the newborn Jesus. Interspersed among these graceful retellings are poems and prayers by well-known authors both religious (St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis of Assisi) and secular (William Blake, Christina Rossetti). In content and style, Denton's soft, spare watercolors are a perfect accompaniment: they manage to be suitably childlike while also conveying a sophisticated flavor that is nicely attuned to each subject. Whether bright and frolicsome for Ruth Sawyer's exuberant yuletide catalogue, ``Christmas Morn'' or washed with greys for Dietrich Bonhoeffer's ``A Prayer for Fellow Prisoners,'' her paintings bring a warmth and individuality to this attractively packaged book. All ages. (Oct.)