cover image Sleepsong


George Ella Lyon, , illus. by Peter Catalanotto. . Atheneum/Jackson, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-86973-0

Lyon and Catalanotto (previously paired for Mother to Tigers ) offer a going-to-bed book with rhythmic, Raffi-like lyrics: “Everything nests—Shh shh—Everything rests—Shh shh—Cow in the barn—Fox in the den—I'm right here—Tucking you in.” Envisioning a classically telegenic family with a blue-eyed, blonde daughter, Catalanotto paints luminous full-bleed watercolor spreads of the usual before-bed routine: bath, story, tuck in. He imagines sleep as an indigo layer of wash that floats up from the bottom of the pages, where the animals in the song are already sleeping, curled up in bluish, moonlit hues. These colors gradually engulf the girl, receding when the routine is derailed (it shrinks when she's bouncing), then creeping back up as she quiets down. In the final spread, when the girl falls asleep, her image joins all the other slumbering baby animals nestling together in one big den. A melody for the text appears on the last page. Lovely. Ages 1–4. (Dec.)