The Night Walk by Marie Dorleans

The Night Walk by Marie Dorleans (9781782506393)

Full of deep blue, this picture book takes a family and readers out of their beds and into the night. They get awoken by Mom in the middle of the night, get dressed and head outside. Crickets were chirping outside in the darkness. They walked through the sleeping village, past the brightly-lit hotel, and out into the countryside with the summer night around them. Their eyes adjusted to the darkness, letting them see the cows in the pastures and find the path as they left the road. They headed into the forest until they reached a small pond, where they played with the moon’s reflection and their flashlight beam. They stopped to take a break and looked at the vast sky overhead, stars alight. Then they reached a rocky hillside and climbed, up and up. And that’s when they realized they had gotten there just in time!

The winner of the Landerneau Children’s Book Prize, this French import is a deep and amazing read. It invites us all to think about adventuring out into the world in the dark, discovering how the world feels with nature around us, darkness, summer heat and wonder. The text in the book is simple, guiding us through the night’s adventure, pointing out what can be seen and heard, and allowing us all to marvel at the world covered in night. The text never gets in the way of our amazement, instead encouraging us to see more and play along.

The blue, oh the blue in this book. It perfectly captures the night, light only by the moon and the stars. Broken at times by windows or flashlight beams or passing trains, the night is allowed to take over all of the pages. Dorleans lets us squint a bit, as if our own eyes are adjusting to the darkness, to spot badgers and mice and deer. That blue drops away as dawn comes, almost worth shielding one’s eyes after being in the dark for so long.

Brilliant, magical and immersive. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy provided by Floris Books.

Happy Springtime! by Kate McMullan

Happy Springtime! by Kate McMullan, illustrated by Sujean Rim (9780823445516)

This picture book takes readers from the chill and ice of winter through the glories of spring and right into summer. Starting with the dark, the snow and the ice of winter, the book speaks directly to those who get their winter boots on the wrong feet, to all the dogs who wear sweaters, and to the birds eating ice-covered berries. It tells them (and us) not to lose heart, for spring is on its way. Soon there will be playgrounds to have fun in. The days will get longer and the frogs will wake up. Bugs and worms will reappear and flowers will bloom. People and animals will move outside to enjoy the warm sunshine. Rain will give everyone puddles and mud to play in. Streams will run free of ice and snow. The days get longer and longer until…summer!

McMullan’s poetic text is jubilant about the return of spring. It’s perfect for when the days of winter seem too dark and cold to continue, reminding us all of what is about to emerge. The focus in her writing is on the natural elements of spring, the lengthening days, the animals returning, the mud, rain and water. It is also about people though and how we respond, heading outdoors ourselves as the sun shines or the rain falls. The entire book focuses on the positive aspects of all of spring, as it emerges all the way through summer approaching.

Rim’s illustrations are playful and merry. They embrace the beauty of spring with bright colors, green watercolor washes of grass, gorgeous wild blooms of flowers, and the joy of mud. The illustrations are full of light, movement and busy with activities of spring.

A warm welcome to a wonderful season. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Neal Porter Books.