cover image Jumbo's Lullaby

Jumbo's Lullaby

Laura Krauss Melmed. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-688-16550-5

Melmed and Sorensen, previously paired for I Love You as Much, travel to Africa for this verse invitation to sleep. A mother elephant attempts to lull her little one to slumber by describing the other animals' dreams. From yawning ostriches and ""lion cubs curled with their mother"" to gazelles ""settled on a stretch of mossy ground,"" Melmed ticks off a leisurely list of animals, punctuated with variations on the refrain ""Shusha, shusha, little Jumbo."" At first realistic, Melmed's images soon launch into flights of fancy: the dreams of lion cubs ""turning into tawny hunters/ stalking through the rippling grass"" follows with ""great gorillas dream they're dancing/ where the blue bananas grow"" and zebras ""dream themselves in gorgeous colors/ anything but black and white."" Sorensen dips his brush in the quieter shades of the Serengeti--misty gray-blues, ochre, moss green--for realistic, nuanced animal portraits that reinforce the underlying theme of mother love. On each facing page, he then embroiders on the text's fantastical elements with scenes of gorillas dancing among discarded blue banana peels sporting flowers behind their ears and zebras with electric combinations of green-and-red or yellow-and-blue stripes. This is bedtime fare with an exotic flair. Ages 2-up. (Sept.)