Noises at Night
Beth Raisner Glass, Susan Lubner, , illus. by Bruce Whatley. . Abrams, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-5750-3
Wide-eyed and alert, an unnamed boy narrator describes in rhyming verse the sounds that "float through my house." The first two pale blue and shadowy black spreads evoke a mood of eerie quiet. But when the boy reveals his strategy for warding off fear ("I like to pretend when I shut off the light,/ The noises turn into adventures at night!"), cheerful reds and whites brighten a humorous illustration of a nervous dog sitting atop the boy's head, and the fun begins. A dripping faucet launches a watery fantasy: "I'm a sea captain now/ I skim over waves that slap onto the bow"; a hissing furnace becomes a snake that he'll charm into a trance. Each anxiety-making sound sparks a fantasy in which the empowered child, wearing a range of costumes (and teddy bear in tow), takes control of the situation. Whatley's action-packed illustrations unfold against a background of thick, swirling brushstrokes, exuding an exuberant charm. At long last, the boy's eyelids close, and the "sound of the quiet now puts me to sleep." Readers with nighttime anxieties may well find this story's playful coping strategy a helpful model. Ages 4-8.
Reviewed on: 08/01/2005