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NIGHT WISHES by Lee Bennett Hopkins


edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins ; illustrated by Jen Corace

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5496-4
Publisher: Eerdmans

Thirteen poets contribute to a collection that buoys sleepy readers into dreamland.

Hopkins organizes the thematic anthology of 14 short poems (Rebecca Kai Dotlich contributes two), each told from the perspective of something in a child’s room. Accompanying double-page spreads expand each poem. The illustrations start with imaginative scenes starring a child of color and gently shift back to reality as day breaks and the child wakes up. The first two poems, “Bed” and “Pillow,” urge action, with phrases like “Climb in, child. / Climb in” and “Eyes closed, set sail!” Next “Blanket” wraps the child in love as they drift off. “Cat” and “Dog” each elicit a sense of wonder as the titular animals pose curious questions. Remaining poems such as “Rocking Horse” and “Stars” convey the push (“Hurry up, sun! / Hurry up, dawn!”) and pull (“No need to hurry— / we listen all night”) of the wait until morning. “Bed Again,” the final poem, encourages the child to “Step out and into day. / Get dressed, be on your way.” The consistent tone combining first-person narration with direct address unifies the disparate voices. Though each poem’s subject and title connect to something specific, Corace’s stylized illustrations include recurring characters and other thoughtful details for readers to discover. The jewel tones offer a soothing, subdued nighttime backdrop, as does the flat perspective. Diamond-patterned endpapers repeat the cover’s visual motif of dandelion seeds turned to stars.

A gentle, comforting ticket to beddy-bye—and good dreams.

(Picture book/poetry. 4-8)