When Stars Arise

Orca. Apr. 2023. 22p. Tr 10.95. ISBN 9781459835665.
PreS-K–Czub’s muted color palette provides simple forms for children’s faces and domestic shapes as a day draws to its close. The barn animals are tucked away, the deer in the forest are nestling in, the entire world of diurnal creatures is slowing in Alaraj’s flowing verse: “The river lulls you with its song./ The water gently skips along./ But do not sleep./ Don’t close your eyes/ until the twinkling stars arise.” The children in the book move toward home; once inside there are baths, books, stuffies, and snug bedtime scenes before sleep comes and stays, “until the sun lights up the skies.” What a satisfying circularity from this team, providing reassurance for toddlers and preschoolers while offering parents or educators a natural path to explain how bedtime is bigger than one person’s wishes, but actually a rhythm of the universe. The illustrations feature gentle blues and grays for night, golden animals and lighted scenes, plus people with button eyes and black hair with skin tones in dappled watercolor; these have a universality that could represent almost any household’s members.
VERDICT A sweet lullaby for story hour that could also kick off a discussion of diurnal and nocturnal rhythms.

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