cover image Once, a Lullaby: A Lullaby

Once, a Lullaby: A Lullaby

B. P. Nichol. Greenwillow Books, $14 (28pp) ISBN 978-0-688-04284-4

""Once I was a little horse,/ baby horse, little horse./ Once I was a little horse./ NEIGH, I fell asleep./ Once I was a little cow,/ baby cow, little cow./ Once I was a little cow./ MOO, I fell asleep.'' Sixteen other little ones fall asleep in the course of this lullaby book, including a boy and girl, each one snugly in bed. Nichol's words seem like dear old friends from the first reading, as familiar as Mother Goose, and perhaps as enduring. Lobel's opulent paintings have a rhythm all their own, and a less than sleepy child can find similarities and differences among the pictures: each creature has a chamber pot, pull toy and books; the boy sleeps in a boat, the girl in a bed with heart-shaped head- and footboards. Wallpaper and pictures on walls are covered with further renditions of the dreaming animals. The one unnecessary touch is the musical score provided in the back of the book; Nichol's and Lobel's collaboration is already a harmonious bedtime offering. (2-up)