cover image Before I Wake Up

Before I Wake Up

Britta Teckentrup. Prestel, $14.95 (56p) ISBN 978-3-7913-7246-4

A girl embarks on a nighttime journey amid dusky colors and a shifting shadow play of forms. Her bed floats off into the starry sky, held up by the moon like a hot-air balloon. Stopping to take a friendly lion on board (sharp-eyed readers will have noticed the girl’s stuffed lion on her windowsill), the bed sails over the ocean and into a storm. Girl and lion board a sailboat, then enter in a forest, where they encounter gentle creatures before returning home as morning breaks. Everything they see is mysterious, yet somehow comforting; the lion stands protectively behind the girl as they sail, then lets her ride on its back as they trace a path through the woods. Anodyne verse stitched together with often awkward rhymes is the only disappointment: “I swim with the whales.../ I dive into the ocean.../ I close my eyes,/ so full of emotion.” It’s Teckentrup’s (Your Hand in My Hand) sweetly naïve cutout forms that do most of the storytelling. In them, night isn’t something to fear or endure; it’s a kingdom of wonders. Ages 3–up. (May)