cover image Fireflies, Fireflies, Light My Way

Fireflies, Fireflies, Light My Way

Jonathan London. Viking Children's Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-85442-4

A line from a Native American lullaby spurs this nocturnal jaunt through a bayou-like wilderness: ""Fireflies, fireflies, light my way. Lead me to the place... where the turtles play."" A relay ensues--turtles, bullfrogs, beavers, catfish, etc., are each asked to ""lead me to the [next] place."" Then, the story line suddenly whips back--like the surprise alligator's tail--and returns to the fireflies. London's (The Village of the Basket Weavers, reviewed below) verse is simple and predictable--not an imaginative poet's tour de force but an irresistible invitation to youngsters, well-grounded in ecological fact. The final refrain gathers all the animals into a delightful memory exercise for pre-readers. In her picture-book debut, Messier carries the text with luminous, densely saturated acrylics that comfort the eye and stimulate the imagination. Paintings and rhymes combine to entertain the audience into an appreciation of the interconnectedness of life. Ages 3-8. (May)