Monday, October 7, 2013

A new bedtime story from Melinda Szymanik

While You Are Sleeping by Melinda Szymanik, ill. Greg Straight, Duck Creek Press

Using calm, repetitive text with moments of poetry, the author introduces us to different scenarios that happen during the night. We look at people going about their lives on the other side of the world, night animals eating their breakfasts, long-distance vehicles blazing trails through the dark, bakers kneading their dough. To most preschoolers the idea that life goes on while they sleep will be a new and fascinating one, and I imagine there will be many rapt faces both listening and looking. This is the illustrator’s first picture book, and he’s done an expert job. His crisp, stylized illustrations are full of colour, texture and detail. Careful attention will reveal his use of recurring motifs throughout the book, such as the wide-eyed owl, the sleeping dog, and New Zealand birds. This book will be a popular bedtime story for 3 to 5-year-olds - but it will also be useful in preschool centres as a means of slowing down the pace. The illustrations would work with both small and large groups.

ISBN 978 1 877378 77 5 $29.99  Hb (also available in Pb)

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman

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