CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 34. . . .May 12, 2017
In Turn on the Night, Brazilian born illustrator Geraldo Valério invites readers to let their imaginations soar. This engaging wordless tale offers a delightful, visual narrative that allows for individualized interpretation which is likely to evolve with each re-read. Like similar literature in the wordless genre, this picture book encourages children to look closely and identify subtle details in the illustrations that offer clues about the larger context of the plot.
In the opening pages, readers are welcomed into the bedroom of a young girl who is seen reading a bedtime story. As she falls asleep, a dream sequence begins, and readers witness her transformation into the main character, a large grey wolf. Leaping through the bedroom window, the wolf sets off on a fun-filled adventure, inviting animal friends along to share in the experience. The rooster and reindeer, who are initially observed in the girl’s bedroom at the commencement of the story, come to life and join the wolf in a playful frolic through the evening landscape. After discovering a bright shining star illuminating the sky, the creatures work together to capture it and carry it back to the young girl’s home. After saying goodbye to the rooster and reindeer, the wolf returns, leaping through the bedroom window, leaving behind a cascading shower of glowing starlight. The concluding illustrations see the girl tucked safely back into her bed with her toy rooster by her side and the reindeer lamp basking the room in a comforting glow.
A highlight of the book is its minimalist approach to the illustrative content. By not overcrowding the pages with excess detail, Valério effectively creates an uncluttered narrative that enables young readers to easily follow the sequence of events and actively participate in inferencing. The content is consistently arranged into double-page spreads which allow for a larger presentation of the characters, and careful attention is also given to the placement of the illustrations in relation to the center gutter. Valério’s dominant use of blue and green oceanic hues provides a bright luminescence which is both comforting and appealing to the eye. The visible paintbrush strokes throughout the book are delightfully reminiscent of children’s artwork, and the sparkling font and stars on the dust jacket are clever additions which will most likely capture the interest of young audiences.
Turn on the Night embraces the imaginative potentials of wordless literature and the magical enchantment of the nighttime world of dreams. Its unique, vibrant illustrations are sure to inspire storytelling not only in the home, but classrooms as well.
Christina Quintiliani is an Ontario Certified Teacher and Ph.D. Candidate at the Faculty of Education, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON., where she is researching children’s literature.
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