cover image The Animals' Lullaby

The Animals' Lullaby

Tom Paxton. HarperCollins, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10468-9

In this splendidly designed bedtime book, folksinger Paxton ( Birds of a Feather ; Engelbert the Elephant ) winds down the preschool crowd and sets the mood for slumber with tranquil verses featuring an array of animals heading for home at the close of day--``White swans are gliding, / Feathers as soft as snow. / Gently they lead their young ones / Back where the rushes grow.'' Paxton's roll call extends beyond the usual farmyard roundup to such less familiar critters as otters, foxes, tropical fish and porcupines. Later, the sandman appears, and the story ends with a pair of children sleeping in a cozy farmhouse bathed in moonlight. Ingraham makes the most of the irresistible imagery with a series of naturalistic illustrations set against a twilight palette of plums, cool blues and mossy greens. Youngsters will delight in the sweet security of this soothing, orderly world where everyone has a place, and all are snug, warm and ``safe in the arms of night.'' Endpapers feature the musical notation--for those who prefer to sing instead of read. Ages 3-up. (May)