Night Sounds by Javier Sobrino, illustrated by Emilio Urberuaga
When the animals of the rain forest head to sleep, they are awakened by noises coming from a box. The sound just goes on and on, “Wuaah, wuaah, wuaaah.” Something is crying and won’t be easily comforted. The animals do try to get it to be quiet, offering a blanket, water, and a doll. But the crying only stops for a little while and then starts up again and again. Finally Tiger heads off to find the mother. Then the identity of the crier is revealed finally but there is more crying to come in a clever twist at the end.
Translated from the original Spanish, Sobrino does a great job of keeping readers guessing about the identity of who is crying in the box. As each new sets of cries starts, their sounds change slightly and add variety to the book. The structure of the book is based on repetition with some changes along the way. It makes for a book that will work well for very small children but also has plenty of surprises for older preschoolers as well.
Urberuaga’s illustrations are filled with deep, rich colors. They evoke the night beautifully and the animals sleepy eyes and lack of smiles show how very tired they are. The reveal is cleverly done without any real visual hints, allowing it to be a complete surprise.
Great fun, this book could be made into reader’s theater with younger children and will also make a great bedtime story as long as a blanket, water and doll are provided ahead of time. Appropriate for ages 2-5.
Reviewed from library copy.