cover image Somewhere in the World Right Now: Reading Rainbow Book

Somewhere in the World Right Now: Reading Rainbow Book

Stacey Schuett. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $16 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-679-86537-7

An experienced illustrator, first-time author Schuett (I'll See You in My Dreams) proves as nimble with words as with a paintbrush. At 8:00 p.m., a child tucked in her bed in Boston listens to her father read a story. But at that very moment, ``Somewhere else, in velvety darkness, elephants sleep standing up, swaying gently from side to side.'' A single moment telescopes into an entire day as Schuett highlights contemporaneous activities around the world, setting her text and illustrations atop background maps. Gently scumbled and luminously colored, these maps supply the geographical location for each vignette. Intimate prose and atmospheric images blend the mundane (``People go to work, stores open''), the exotic (``jaguars glide through the jungle''), the mysterious (``A boy hides a note for a friend to find''), and the humorous (a dog runs off with a worker's lunch). While youngest readers will grasp the basic idea of different ``times'' in different locations, older children will recognize the orderly ``zones'' as the book's vignettes progress from morning to night (and bedtime). More advanced readers may take up the stickier abstractions of the international dateline. So soothingly written and structured that it can double as a bedtime book, this unique work affords an extraordinarily compelling, clear approach to a complex topic. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)