cover image As Night Falls: Creatures That Go Wild After Dark

As Night Falls: Creatures That Go Wild After Dark

Donna Jo Napoli, illus. by Felicita Sala. Random House Studio, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-37429-0

Napoli works a lively lesson on food chains into this raucous bedtime bestiary linking a child’s nighttime restlessness to the “Silly action/ Hungry action/ Wild action” that occurs outside “as night falls.” Though some children “nestle sweetly into sleep,” others’ thoughts race, “and they aren’t alone.” Out of doors, “the mini go ballistic” as luminescent dinoflagellates become prey to copepods, which are in turn gobbled by goby fish. As the chain continues, “the big ones go berserk.” Bat-nomming racer snakes become the prey of weasels eaten by jackals and so on, up to an apex predator: a full-bellied tiger fearsomely licking its chops (“Tigers eat whatever they want”). Napoli’s alliterative prose snaps like the jaws of its subjects as they “snicker snack,” while paintings by Sala employ vivid hues and psychedelic scenes of animals, mouths wide open, as they hunt and munch. In a clever concluding twist, the narrative comes full circle, proposing a way that little insomniacs might tame their own inner fierceness at bedtime. More about included creatures concludes. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)