If you have preschool children, you know that you can never have enough bedtime books. Song of Night is another lovely addition to any collection, a charming goodnight story both kids and parents will enjoy night after night. On the first spread of the book, a mother bunny holds her baby and gazes at the stars, which include a carrot-shaped constellation, as mom announces that it's time for bed. Next, in the cozy yet hip bunny bedroom, the mother says, "And now all children, just like you, get ready for their bedtime, too." On the following pages we see a duck splashing in an overflowing bathtub, mice brushing their teeth, dogs howling a bedtime song and cats cuddling up for a story (about mice, of course one holds Mouse Mess, illustrated by Linnea Riley herself, a little inside joke).
Riley's illustrations are clever, child-friendly and classy, all at the same time. This is a book that can be read quickly (a definite plus when parents are eager to tuck in their little ones!), but be sure to take the time to savor the many details on each page. The mice, for instance, are having a merry time squirting artful streams of toothpaste in the air, while a third mouse looks on, holding a container of "RoDental Floss." The skunk family has an air freshener hanging from their lamp, and a visiting ladybug (who's seen on several pages) squirts perfume in the air beside them. A baby squirrel sleeps in a precious cradle fashioned from a nut and draped in purple ribbon.
All the animals can be seen on a lovely spread featuring the moon and stars and a cloud boat sailing through the night sky. The book closes with a soothing message for all little sleepyheads: "Moonbeams softly light your bed. Soon dreams will fill your sleepy head./Close your eyes. To sleep you go. Here's one more kiss . . . /I love you so."Song of Night is worthy of a place on children's nightstands with classics old and new. Tuck it between Goodnight Moon and Guess How Much I Love You. Nakamura and Riley are a mother-daughter team, and this is their first collaboration. Let's hope they pair up again.