Lovely First Reviews for LIGHT UP THE NIGHT!


By Jean Reidy; illus. by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
The coziest of quilts becomes a rocket ship in this gorgeous, mesmerizingly rhythmic read-aloud that explores a boy’s small place in a vast world. Sporting star-spangled pajamas, the not-too-sleepy astronaut wraps his red-and-white quilt around his shoulders and zooms off into outer space. The slow-building rhyme echoes the cumulative structure of “The House That Jack Built”: “These are the planets that circle the sun, / which hides its face when the day is done, / while stars glow bright / and light up the night, / in my own little piece of the universe.” The soothing rhythms and comforting refrain are just right for very young ears, and the geographical terms will stretch young minds. During the boy’s fanciful flight, his aerial view of Earth includes hemispheres, continents and countries—eventually zeroing in on his own town, house, street and bed. Caldecott Honor–winner Chodos-Irvine’s colorful illustrations are fun and friendly, from the retro linocut spot art of the boy in his bedroom (“This is me”)—to dramatic full-bleed spreads that capture the expansive galaxies, complete with a smiling moon, animal constellations, planets and four-eyed aliens. The richly textured mixed-media artwork—incorporating various printmaking techniques and what looks like cut-paper collage—offers many clever self-referential moments and something new to discover with each reading. A dreamy-yet-instructive ode to the universe. (Picture book. 2-6)

by Jean Reidy; illus. by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Before bedtime, a young boy plays with his toys—vehicles of all kinds, from a truck to a spaceship. He quietly identifies himself by saying, “This is me,” captioning a small spot art illustration surrounded by white space. Why so small? Because, as listeners soon discover, he’s part of something big. His mother tucks him in, but he doesn’t go straight to sleep. Instead, he takes his blanket, transforms it into a rocket ship, and soars off into the vastness of the heavens. Thus begins a cumulative tale that takes him out of this world (“These are my galaxy stars so bright— / they light up the heavens late at night”) and back again to his “own little piece of the universe”: “This is my room, with my name on the door, and my dinosaur lamp, and my rug on the floor.” Soft assonant sounds soothe the cumulative rhyme that parallels nighttime routines through its repetition and structure. Visually, the most important object in the book is the boy’s best bedtime companion: his blanket. Reproduced on the endpapers, the blanket first swaddles the book and then the boy as pieces of it morph into the vehicles that transport him. Double-page spreads of bright but not overpowering collages depict his journey, while the opening and closing actions (of going to bed and going to sleep) are shown in smaller wordless panels, bringing the story full circle. Betty Carter

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