cover image When the Sky Glows

When the Sky Glows

Nell Cross Beckerman, illus. by David Litchfield. Beach Lane, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-5039-4

Cross Beckerman (Down Under the Pier) and Litchfield (the Bear and the Piano books) visit varied locales in this picture book, investigating natural events during which “the sky glows”—from sunrises and sunsets to lightning and the aurora borealis. Each two-spread pairing starts with an economic visual of humans observing light (“when morning comes...”); with a turn of the page, the specific scenario is revealed in a full-bleed spread (“the sky glows”), accompanied by an approachable scientific explanation (about a sunrise’s warm hues, “When the sun is low on the horizon, the sunrays travel through longer distances, so colors with short wavelengths... are filtered out”). In another such vignette, a racially diverse group of water sports enthusiasts wait out a rainstorm under a roofed pier (“On a tropical misty island, when raindrops stop...”); the reveal shows a sunny sky filled with sparkling bands of color, and readers learn how rainbows are made, and why “the combination of wet weather and sunny skies” makes Hawaii “the Rainbow State.” The digital illustrations seem powered by their own energy source, with pages awash in radiant layers. It’s a glowing example of what happens when science and a sense of wonder converge. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Victoria Wells Arms, Wells Arms/HG Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright Agency. (Sept.)