CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 6. . . .October 9, 2015
Tomorrow is a Chance to Start Over: Bedtime Story and Dream Songs.
Montreal, PQ: The Secret Mountain (Distributed in Canada by the Manda Group), 2015.
52 pp., (includes 51 min. CD), hardcover, $22.95.
Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 1-5.
Review by Valerie Nielsen.
In a little red house in a city
by the sea, a brother and sister
were getting ready to sleep.
Mom read them a story
and kissed them goodnight.
She tucked in their covers
And turned out the light...
Vancouver singer-songwriter Hilary Grist has put together a story book and music CD entitled Tomorrow is a Chance to Start Over which features the author narrating the story and 11 tracks comprised of 10 songs ending with an instrumental blend of three favourite lullabies. Grist is a well-known Canadian pop-folk-jazz musician whose talents extend to visual artistry. She illustrates her story with a quirky flair, using a wide variety of materials to construct her characters and their dreamlike setting.
Grist's whimsical artistic work combines very well with the dreamy, dulcet tone of her voice. The text of Tomorrow is a Chance to Start Over, is a simple 20 page narrative consisting of (mostly) rhyming quadruplets per colourful double spread. Ira and Isabelle have trouble going to sleep in the noisy city and decide to sail off in a boat until they come to a beautiful island. There, they stay until the wind blows them to a new place where they meet a robin who teaches the children to fly and leaves them with this parting message:
My dear little friends
now that you know how to fly,
I must tell you something to remember me by.
At night while you sleep,
send your dreams out to sea.
The waves of the ocean
will bring them to me.
It is important for the child who is given this book to turn the pages as the author reads the story. As for the musical part of the CD, Grist has a pleasantly clear, gentle and quite-without-vibrato voice which is admirably suited to the love and sleep-themed songs she performs.
Grist studied in the music program at Capilano University in Vancouver and produced two well-received albums, Imaginings in 2010, and Come and Go in 2014. She has toured in Japan and South Korea where the eclectic nature of her simple but rich tunes are admired.
Grist's collection of songs on Tomorrow is a Chance to Start Over is dreamy and pleasant to listen to, if not downright soporific. An adult purchasing Tomorrow is a Chance to Start Over will, of course, realize that the listener must be ready for a quiet time and set for sleep before beginning! From that point of view, the storybook and CD might be a worthwhile purchase for preschool and daycare facilities.
Valerie Nielsen, a retired teacher-librarian, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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