cover image Sleep, Baby, Sleep: Lullabies and Night Poems

Sleep, Baby, Sleep: Lullabies and Night Poems

Michael Hague. HarperCollins Publishers, $18 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10877-9

Part poetry collection, part songbook, this bedtime volume will strike Hague fans as beautiful, others as precious. Hague's images, as always, are both ethereal and fantastical, recognizable by the palette alone (lots of ochre, brick red and moss green), and he creates worlds inhabited as comfortably by fairies and gnomes as by children and their parents. The volume has a self-consciously old-fashioned flavor, harkening back to Brahms and Tennyson and Robert Louis Stevenson, and evoking classic picture-book illustrations, a honeyed melange of Arthur Rackham and Jessie Wilcox Smith. A visual nod to the '90s is made with the inclusion of a multiracial cast. In his editorial choices, however, Hague leans heavily on English and European traditions, largely relying on the tried and true. ``Rockabye Baby,'' ``Star Light, Star Bright,'' ``My Bed Is a Boat''--they're all here, with few surprises. A section supplying the musical arrangements for each song enhances the usefulness of this collection. All ages. (Sept.)