cover image One Stormy Night

One Stormy Night

Ruth Brown. Dutton Books, $13.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45091-7

Brown ( The Picnic ; Our Puppy's Vacation ) amply demonstrates her ability to craft a mood piece as she follows the arrival and passing of a country storm. In spare, suspenseful text and with rich full-spread paintings, Brown evokes a dog's-eye view of a darkly gothic setting, a looming stone manor assailed by howling winds. As the ``iron gate creaks and the black cat hisses,'' a small white dog searches for shelter during the tempest-tossed night. Brown's realistic illustrations take on a narrative life of their own, capturing the sweeping landscape, the imposing estate and the uneasy animals in inky blacks and warm sepias. At the end, with the storm lifting just before dawn, Brown's palette shifts to violets and then to pale greens and yellows, counterpointing her final, agreeably shivery surprise: the little dog returns to its haven within a timeworn church--animated only by the singularly stormy night, the dog is better known as a stone figure on a carved tomb. Ages 4-6. (Aug.)