In the middle of the night darkness, a boy is woken by his cat who clearly wants to go outside. She leads him out of his room, through the dark house where everyone is asleep, even the fish. Then the cat speaks, saying that it is coming and it’s almost here. The two go outside where the grass is dewy, the air is warm, and the sky is filled stars. He can only see shadows everywhere. Some seem to be flowers and others seem to be animals who are also out at night, a deer, an owl, a porcupine and more. The birds start to call about it almost being here and slowly through the trees comes a glow. Dawn arrives. The animals depart off to sleep. And color floods away the shadows as the day shines into a glorious morning.
Gerstein has written a radiant picture book. He combines a mystery of what the cat is talking about that lengthens and deepens as the story unfolds. As the boy stands outside in the summer moments before dawn, there is a feeling of safety thanks to the animals gathered around him to witness the dawn too. There is immense pleasure is seeing the sun rise and that is captured vividly on these pages. From the hush and quiet splendor of the darkness to the dazzle of the day, this picture book is a perfect way to celebrate nature and each new start.
The illustrations are paramount here and they are immensely lovely. The dark pages in particular which are lit by the barest of lights, the deep blacks and greys of night are allowed to show their richness. The eyes of boy and cat light the darkness alone until outside where the stars in the sky join them as well, shining high above them. And the dawn that breaks so slowly over the horizon, first a glow and then becoming a full day with clouds, pastel colors and light.
A celebration of dawn, this picture book may just have early birds waking up to see the light break over their own dewy yards. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.