Archive | June 18, 2017

How to Make a Night

Cover

Written by Linda Ashman, Illustrated by Tricia Tusa

HarperCollins, 2004

Bike blew a tire.

It’s one of those days where everything has gone wrong and everyone is feeling crummy. One girl decides to clean everything up and turn things around. She climbs a tree and mops all the clouds from the sky, then throws a rope up to bring the sun down so she can tuck it away for the evening. Then she peels the blue away from the sky, dyes it black, splatters it with gold painted stars and puts it back in place. She makes a moon from a yellow rock and throws it high into the sky. She calls the crickets and owls to sing and stirs up the wind to get the trees swaying. Then she goes back into her house, cleans her room, washes her face and eats supper with her family. After that, it’s time for a bath, pajamas and goodnight kisses from Mom and Dad, so she can get a good night’s sleep before getting up early to take down the moon and put the sun back up.

Author Linda Ashman gets right to the heart of those really hectic days when it seems like something bad has happened to just about everyone and everything is in disarray. Sometimes, as we see in the book, it only takes one person to start making an effort to make things better. In real life, it’s usually a parent who takes on the task but I like that it’s a child in this book, showing kids that they have some agency in the family’s condition. The story is written in a jazzy rhyme scheme that’s fun to read.

Planets

Golf Ball is my favorite planet.

The imagery here is very fanciful, but it works, and even when kids know they can’t really pull down the sun, they will know they can contribute to making things better. Tricia Tusa’s illustrations are as chaotic as this family’s day, with a mix of traditional artwork and photo collage. Some of the photographic images are a little odd, but they fit the offbeat whimsy of the story. The family pictured here is very diverse and at the end of the book, when you see things calmed down, they appear very happy and close. It’s an unusual book, but I really liked it.

And what did we learn?  What I take away from this book is that anyone can take the initiative to make things better for those around them.

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