cover image Hush Little Baby

Hush Little Baby

Shari Halpern. NorthSouth, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-55858-807-3

Halpern (Little Robin Redbreast) evokes a comforting intimacy with this attractive interpretation of a familiar childhood folk song. She illustrates each line with a pretty, quilt-like image, assembled from appliques of painted paper and color photocopies of fabric. Each layer of collage can be discerned, imbuing the illustrations with a texture and almost cushy depth that resembles real quilts. A whimsical border of repeating images frames each picture: a prince quilt, for example, is surrounded with bold cut-outs in the shapes of castles and jewels. At the center of each frame, a vivacious auburn-haired boy in pajamas acts each line of the song: for ""And if that mockingbird won't sing,"" the boy sits in a nest, trying to coax a bird to chirp along with him; for ""And if that looking-glass gets broke,"" the boy looks in a mirror, where he sees the reflection of himself dressed as a prince. In one, Halpern gently pushes the boundaries of the song--for the line, ""And if that diamond ring turns brass,"" she depicts her hero swinging on a ring-shaped constellation, framed in a border of ringed planets and crescent moons. This square trim volume strikes just the right note for younger children, softly weaving folksy images into a favorite lullaby. The book concludes with a simple piano version of the melody. Ages 2-5. (Oct.)