cover image Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams

Rose A. Lewis, illus. by Jen Corace. Abrams, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0189-4

While Lewis’s previous books (Orange Peel’s Pocket; Every Year on Your Birthday) have dealt with Asian adoption, this soothing bedtime rhyme is addressed to sleepyheads in general. A mother carries a small, sleepy girl upstairs to an airy bedroom as she weaves a series of “moonflower stories” about animals, “Like the one about the baby bear/ Simply much too tired to eat,/ Who made the moonflowers’ petals/ A pillow for his feet.” The text forms the scaffolding for Corace’s (Gibbous Moony Wants to Bite You!) elegant spreads, in which distinctively stylized, sharp-cornered figures are muted by a twilight palette. Following the text closely, Corace creates spacious nighttime scenes reassuringly free of threat or fear. Massed flowers, foliage, and branches loom protectively over the animals, echoing the forms of the parent animals who guard their young under a smiling full moon. In a quiet but dramatic closing moment, the walls of the child’s room open out onto the night sky and the moonflowers like an elaborate theater set, a tacit acknowledgment of the longing many children feel for a life that’s a little closer to nature. Ages 3–7. (Mar.)