Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Song for a Summer Night: A Lullaby

Publish September 8, 2015

Night falls on a small community, and children peer out their windows to witness the summer’s night show. In the park, plants and creatures announce their presence on the darkening stage. In Song for a Summer Night: A Lullaby, Robert Heidbreder and illustrator, Qin Leng, compare the night’s happenings to a performance and create a lullaby infused with rhythm, colour, and sound. Heidbreder writes in a mostly steady, soothing rhythm. Giving each living thing a sound, he stretches to include the imaginary pring-pring of a bellflower and glint-glint of a firefly. He personifies the raccoons that waltz in tra-la-la time, and enlivens the leaves as they whisper shh-shh. As new players arrive on the stage, Heidbreder adds their sound to his poem, creating a cumulative refrain. Leng’s whimsical ink and brush illustrations capture the fading light in blue and green hues. She illuminates the children’s awe-filled faces in their windows with bright yellow light, and vibrantly contrasts them against the dark of night when they go outside. Kids will enjoy finding and tracking a purple toy bunny that first appears when the book begins – although they might be confused when it appears in the arms of the wrong child. Kids will enjoy this book best with an adult or older child as its design features hand-drawn lettering and the sounds are rendered in cursive. Song for a Summer Night: A Lullaby’s soothing song-like quality and repetitive refrain will certainly enchant and calm readers.

Song for a Summer Night: A Lullaby

Robert Heidbreder
Illustration EN: Qin Leng
Groundwood Books
ISBN 13: 978-1-55498-493-0

Jen Bailey
Jen Bailey Jen Bailey is an Ontario-certified teacher who holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Jen’s other book reviews have appeared in Quill & Quire and Canadian Children’s Book News.

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