cover image The Sleepy Men

The Sleepy Men

Margaret Wise Brown, Robert Rayevsky. Hyperion Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0154-1

Once again, the poetry of the late Brown inspires an illustrator to an equally poetic achievement. This is a bedtime book, but much more impressionistic in style and approach than the author's classic Goodnight Moon. Its focus is a tale (about ""the little boy Man in the Moon"") that Big Sleepy Man recounts to lull Little Sleepy Man into slumber, but the work is really a mood piece, dreamily transcending time, space and conventional narrative structure, then lyrically melting away in much the same way that a child (or an adult, for that matter) drifts off to sleep. Rayevsky's (Belling the Cat; A Word to the Wise) illustrations bridge the surrealism of the text with earthy details, such as the characters' twin wrought-iron beds and their outre identical suits. He is as skilled at depicting flights of fancy as he is at conveying the tenderly familiar attachment between his big and little ""men."" Ages 3-7. (Sept.)