cover image The Midnight Fair

The Midnight Fair

Gideon Sterer, illus. by Mariachiara Di Giorgio. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1115-3

Captivating spreads by Di Giorgio (Professional Crocodile) tell a wordless story about a night of magic for a forest’s animal denizens. Golden eyes glow in the dark as the last human closes up a pop-up county fairground and heads out. When he’s gone, two enterprising raccoons throw the big power lever back on, and the animals stream in through a fence opening. Painting from close up, Di Giorgio creates the sense that viewers are part of the crowd, and bathes every spread in brilliant, theatrical light. Animals large and small ride the swings, the roller coaster, and the carousel, paying for their tickets with forest currency: blackberries, acorns, and pinecones. A wolf tosses a ring and wins a goldfish, and a hedgehog waddles by, quills studded with treats. Sterer (From Ed’s to Ned’s) imagines candid moments as a fox parent reclines in a spinning teacup while its kit holds on to the rim with rapt attention. Morning comes, and with it, a quiet, hurried retreat. Watching a whole forest full of creatures encounter the fair delivers a sheaf of unexpected delights—especially when they take pleasure in all the same things their human counterparts do. Ages 3–7. [em](Feb.) [/em]