CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 24. . . .February 23, 2018
Good Night, Good Night.
Dennis Lee. Illustrated by Qin Leng.
Toronto, ON: HarperCollinsCanada, 2018.
24 pp., board book, $12.99.
Preschool / Birth-age 5.
Review by Dave Jenkinson.
Cuddle a Bug
Cuddle a bug in a blanket,
Cuddle a bug in a rug.
Cuddle a bug in her own little bed.
Till she’s snug in a big bug-hug.
Good Night, Good Night contains six of Dennis Lee's poems that originally appeared as entries in four books published between 1977 and 2000. In their order of appearance in Good Night, Good Night, these poems are: "Cuddle a Bug", "Cool Pillow", "The Coming of Teddy Bears", "The Moon", "Silvery" and "Good Night, Good Night". Collectively, the poems all, in some way, deal with the theme of going to sleep.
Qin Leng, the illustrator, could have chosen to treat each Lee poem in this board book as a stand-alone entity by electing to use a different illustration style for each poem. Instead, Leng found a narrative thread that flows through all six poems, one which she then used to tell a visual story in an almost cumulative tale-like fashion. In the opening poem, "Cuddle a Bug", readers are introduced to a little boy of colour who, in the next poem, "Cool Pillow", collects his pillow from a tree. In the third poem, the boy discovers a little girl in her bed in a tree house as well as four teddy bears. The sextet travel together in the night woods where they encounter the boy-in-the-moon in "The Moon". Venturing further, the group, now a septet, comes across a young girl asleep in a hammock in "Silvery". The illustrations accompanying the final poem, "Good Night, Good Night", sees the four children and four teddy bears asleep in the woods.
Overall, Leng's watercolour illustrations effectively capture the arrival of dusk and night. Leng must be commended for her superb achievement is creating a new and imaginative visual "whole" out of what were originally six independent poetic creations.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
© CM Association
University of Manitoba
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