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ON SLEEPY HILL by Patricia Hegarty


by Patricia Hegarty ; illustrated by Xuan Le

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-18176-8
Publisher: Doubleday

Visible through overlapping cutouts, animal residents get set to bed down for the night.

If the sleepy cadences of Hegarty’s rhyme aren’t quite enough to make a onesie-clad audience nod off, the subtle darkening of each woodland scene as pages turn should do the trick. “Sitting by a mountain stream, / here is big black bear, / watching as his baby cubs / play in the cool night air.” (The text may be stronger on atmosphere than on zoology.) Using trees and canopy as a sort of natural proscenium, Le packs the space around the large, naturalistically shaped central cutouts with mostly European flora and fauna. Viewers can pick out families of rabbits, wolves, otters, wild boars, caribou, and others gathering themselves to head toward (mostly offstage) homes, as well as lots of small individual creatures peeking through leaves, flowers, and, here and there, tiny additional cutout windows. The spreads are printed on heavy paper, which makes them at least somewhat resistant to tearing, but the book is nevertheless best shared with the younger end of the audience when they are at their calmest. Eyelids should be drifting down even before the closing “Sweet dreams. Good night” beneath cushiony, moonlit clouds.

A sonorous, effectively soporific snoozer.

(Novelty picture book. 1-4)