Sweet Dreams Lullaby

Sweet Dreams Lullaby by Betsy Snyder

In rhyming couplets, a young bunny prepares for bed in this peaceful book.  Young listeners will cuddle down just like the bunny as they move through a landscape of jewel tones and sensory imagery.  The illustrations move from late afternoon through the moon rising and stars twinkling in the sky.  Different animals make their way to bed following some of the same steps as children.  Hummingbirds get drinks of water.  Ducks wash themselves in puddles.  A daddy frog sings to his children.  Beautifully written and illustrated, this book is a small gem of a book.

Snyder excels at both writing and illustrating.  Some of the images in her poem are so lovely, gentle and perfect that they will stop you for a moment in delight.  The clever use of parallels between the animal bedtimes and children’s routines are done with a subtle hand.  Snyder’s illustrations are filled with deep colors that change throughout the book as the evening deepens.  There is a sense of continuity throughout the illustrations and the book that is soothing and gentle.

A great bedtime book for toddlers, one can’t read this book without feeling calm, warm and snuggly.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House.

Visit Betsy Snyder’s blog for information on her work.  You can also read an interview with her at Picture Book Junkies Blog.

Willow’s Whispers

Willow’s Whispers by Lana Button, illustrated by Tania Howells

Willow’s voice was never any louder than a whisper.  She wished it were louder because no one in her class could hear her speak.  She got the wrong juice at snack, couldn’t tell others that she was playing with the toys, and never got picked as line leader because she couldn’t speak up.  Her father knew that her voice was inside her and would find its way out.  The next morning, Willow got up and made a magic microphone.  When she spoke into it, her voice was strong and loud.  She could speak to her classmates and ask for what she wanted.  But disaster struck at the end of the day when the microphone was crushed.  Could Willow find her her voice in time to be line leader?

Written with an understanding of being shy and the effort it takes to overcome, Button has captured the shy, quiet child perfectly here.  The loving relationship between Willow and her father is also worth noting.  He does not pressure her to change, rather it is her own decision and creativity that bring it about.  Howell’s illustrations make great use of white space.  They have a simple design and child-like feel to them that really works well.

This book will really speak loudly to those who are quiet.  It also offers a window of understanding to those who aren’t.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Kids Can Press.

Also reviewed by Kiss the Book and BookDragon.