Little Owl's Night

Divya Srinivasan. Viking, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-01295-4
There's a surfeit of books about going to bed, but fewer about the beauty of night after all the humans have gone to sleep. In her debut, Srinivasan explores this world through the character of Little Owl, a mite of a bird with enormous green eyes. "Little Owl visited his friend the raccoon. As they sat in the clover, fog rolled in and hovered just overhead." There's no thread joining the events of Little Owl's pleasant evening; he thinks about showing his friend Bear the moon, but Bear doesn't wake up. Fox says hello, but doesn't stay. "Tell me again how night ends," Little Owl asks his mother. "The moon and stars fade to ghosts," she tells him. "Spiderwebs turn to silver threads." The story's chief virtue is its graceful, balletic prose; the artwork's crisp edges and cold greens and blacks, by contrast, have a polished, commercial feel—a Mary Blair vibe in a Photoshop era. It's a provocative inversion of the classic bedtime story, and a solid first outing. Srinavasan's message is that night is a delightful place, and that's useful knowledge for small children. Ages 3–5. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/18/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Board Books - 32 pages
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