Monday, December 26, 2016

Book of the Week: Before Morning

Before Morning

by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Beth Krommes
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016
44 pages
ISBN: 978-0-547-97917-5
Ages 3-7

Four wordless page spreads showing a mother and child making their way home in the winter dark start this cozy offering. Once they arrive, it’s time for the mom to get ready for her job as a pilot. The thought of her leaving, it is clear, leaves the child bereft. “In the deep, woolen dark, / ” begins the narrative, “as we slumber unknowing, / let the sky fill with flurry and flight.” Snow has started falling. As the child sleeps and the mother heads to work, it continues to fall, lighting the dark, swaddling everything it touches. Across the city, including at the airport, it piles high. “Let urgent plans founder, …” With the flight canceled, the mother hitches a ride on a snowplow, arriving home to share breakfast with her family. An author’s note explains the poem that comprises this text is an invocation—a wish. Brief yet bountiful lines of possibility are set against the exquisite warmth of scratchboard and watercolor illustrations that render a world at once magical and real, and in which the gender of the second parent and the child are open to interpretation.  ©2016 Cooperative Children's Book Center

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