Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sunrise, Sunset . . .

There comes a time in your life, hopefully when you are young, when you awake in the morning a sigh of gratitude escapes from your lips.  As you step outside into the sun, rain, snow, calm or wind, heat or cold, you look around noticing light and shadow, shapes and angles.  You see normal but deep inside you know it's a collection of tiny miracles.

As you move through the hours of the day everything, where you go, the individuals you see and the things you do, reminds you, if you stop for the merest of moments, of the early morning thankfulness.  Good Day, Good Night (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, October 3, 2017) a never-before-published picture book written by Margaret Wise Brown with art by Loren Long is a gentle, affectionate poem of appreciation to the wonder of each and every day.

When the sun came up the day began.

One small soul, a bunny, saw it rise.  Greetings rang out, not just to one but to everyone.  It was time to bid the darkness farewell.

He looked up and saw the trees.  He looked up and saw the birds.  Bees busily flew away from their homes high in the trees.  The bunny's companion, a tiny kitten, got a cup of milk for breakfast.

The morning was in full bloom.  All the residents were asked to look for the wonder in this day.  All the residents were asked to give this day their full attention.  Live!

Later as the moon rose, another night started.  Greetings again rang out wishing creatures a pleasant evening.  Now inside the bunny bid his tiny kitten and teddy bear good night.  He wasn't quite ready to go to sleep.  He made sure inside and outside all those he knew received those soothing final two words.  Rest well sweet rabbit.

Margaret Wise Brown in this book lifts simple words into eloquence.  The repetition of good morning and good night as the bunny observes his natural world and daily surroundings supplies readers with a soothing cadence.  It asks them to find the same joy as the bunny does.  It's a lullaby.  It's a prayer.  It's masterful and beautiful.

The same tender, lasting charm we feel reading the words written by Margaret Wise Brown is elevated by the art of Loren Long.  The two friends, the tiny kitten and bunny each greet the morning and the evening.  The blend of the two parts of the changing skies is flawless.  Notice the light and shadows on the grassy hill.  See how the glow of the sun and moon highlights the characters' faces.  I don't know about you, but I want to sit on that hill with them.  To the left, on the back, the golden yellow from the sunrise provides a canvas for a tiny bee and Monarch butterfly facing each other.

Beneath the jacket on the book case, Loren brings the sunrise closer to us on the front and the night sky also closer on the left.  To have them opposite of their appearance on the jacket signifies a continuum.  A lush rolling landscape with a river winding through the created valley spans the opening endpapers.  The sky shifts from deeper purple to pale lavender and then golden yellow as the sun rises.  A single large tree sits in the open on one of the hills on the right side.  It is the base from which the rabbit town radiates.  On the closing endpapers night has fallen on the same scene.  Tiny pinpricks of light are seen around the tree.  Without a word being spoken the color palette for both of these says, "Hush, dear readers."

Rendered in acrylics on illustration board each image beginning on the title page, tells a story.  Beneath the text, the bunny sits up in his bed, holding his teddy bear, and sees the sun rising through his bedroom window.  All of the two-page pictures placed on matte-finished paper have a classic timeless quality.  All are shown in full color but four are placed on a crisp white background.

The brush strokes ask us to reach out and feel the soft texture they emulate.  The exquisite details ask us to stop and look at each picture carefully.  Do you see the tiny mouse in the window of the bunny's house as he greets the day?  The name of the newspaper another rabbit brings to homes is the Daily Warren.  The Harey Dairy truck brings milk.  During the morning two ladybugs walk along a branch.  At night they are tucked under the bird's nest.  The caterpillar seen in two illustrations happens to be a Monarch caterpillar.  Do you recognize the book one bee is reading to another at bedtime?  You can't help but smile when you realize why there are two holes in the roofs of the vehicles.  The bookends and bedside lamp in the bunny's bedroom are delightful.  Careful readers will spy the mouse again.  They will also recognize the spelling on the wooden blocks.

It's nearly impossible to select a favorite illustration.  They all are gorgeous.  One of my favorite pictures is when the bunny is getting ready to go to bed.  The use of green, yellow and red is predominant on the furnishings and window frames.  You realize where the flowers the bunny picked earlier have been placed.  It seems as if his toy animals are watching him pet the tiny kitten on his bed.  His teddy bear wearing a straw hat is ready for bed, sitting and waiting in the rocking chair.  A fire burns in the stone fireplace hearth.  (I would love to hang this picture on my wall.)

You will most definitely want to add Good Day, Good Night written by Margaret Wise Brown with pictures painted by Loren Long to your personal and professional collections.  This is a book to have at your bedside to read when you first wake up and right before you go to sleep.  It casts a spell of contentment and calm.

To learn more about Margaret Wise Brown and Loren Long and their other work, please follow the links attached to their names to access their websites.  Loren offers looks at his process for this title on his website.  Enjoy the book trailer and Loren's video about this book.

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