cover image Night Sounds, Morning Colors

Night Sounds, Morning Colors

Rosemary Wells. Dial Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1301-7

Divided into four vignettes, a child's first-person narration offers an appreciation of the senses and the seasons. One morning, the youngster sees a spiderweb, in the mist ``loaded with emerald raindrops''; the sun shining through the window onto a stream of ``gold honey''; and just-planted violets (``so bright in their deep black earth that my mother is sure they are laughing and singing''). Evening sounds heard by the narrator include Grandpa reading a story (``His quiet voice rolls up and down like ocean waves''); a spoon clinking and chocolate sauce dripping as the boy's mother makes an ice cream sundae; and his father humming a bedtime song. Grandma's preparations for Mother's birthday dinner yield numerous appealing smells and tastes; and a winter walk brings encounters with a cold icicle, a prickly thorn bush, a soft feather and an itchy sweater. Wells's (the Max and Ruby books) well-chosen images effectively convey the power of sensory experience. While McPhail (Farm Boy's Year; Santa's Book of Names) takes liberties with traditional proportion and scale and gets occasionally unfortunate results, his acrylic paintings successfully conjure up an intimate view of a child's world. Ages 2-6. (Oct.)