cover image Good Night, World

Good Night, World

Willa Perlman, illus. by Carolyn Fisher. S&S/Beach Lane, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-0197-6

As the sun sets, a towheaded child bids good night to the animals and natural phenomena outside in this simple, languid bedtime book. Perlman's (Pocket Kisses) couplets put a particular emphasis on color ("Turning Earth, good night to you./ Good night, deserts, pink and blue") as the book moves from celestial to earthly realms. With an amalgam of textures, batiklike patterns, and images within images, Fisher's (The Snow Show) pictures offer somewhat abstracted visions of familiar motifs%E2%80%94planets in the sky, breaking waves, animals in their habitats. Swirling strokes give some scenes a sense of motion; "Good night, rocky, gurgling stream," reads the verse as inky, turbulent waters pour down a neon green hillside, dotted by triangular and scribbly trees. Fisher also hand-letters the text and adds a connecting thread: a red-winged bird appears in each spread and eventually curls up with the sleeping child. The text's repetition of good-night wishes strikes a familiar chord, and though the art feels fresh, it has a certain remoteness as well. While the world depicted isn't unfriendly, it's not especially comforting either. Ages 2%E2%80%935. (July)