a list of…five wide awake books about nighttime

First of all, a big Hero Award to my husband for getting me up and running with my new computer.  Thank you, Kurt!!   I’m still at rather a pencil-and-paper techno level, so I basically have no recourse but to stamp my foot when something goes futz with the computer, and then wait for my children or husband to rescue me 🙂  Not pretty, but honest.

Night skies are something for all of us, techies and primitives, to enjoy.  Here are some titles to help whet your appetite for some autumn stargazing:

At Night, written and illustrated by Jonathan Bean

Purple nighttime has descended over the city. The moon is full and luminous in the sky.  Little brother and baby sister have been put to bed.  Mom and Dad have whispered tender sweet dream wishes and gone to sleep.  But this little girl is still …wide


She just cannot fall asleep.  So, when a gentle breeze wafts through her window, soft and fresh, she gathers up bedding and heads to the roof top patio, to the cool night air, and the glowing moon, and the wide world, and there…she falls…asleep.

Meanwhile,  Mom, who like most of us mothers sleeps with one ear open, has quietly followed that little night wanderer.  We leave her sitting peacefully with her cup of coffee, on the roof, in the moonlight, beside her dear little one.

Honestly, this whole List of Five originated when I found this book.  I loved it so much, that I went searching for some other nighttime treasures to round out the list.  Jonathan Bean is an artist I’ve just recently discovered and I adore his work.  His watercolors are soft, lovely warm glimpses of the beauty found in nature, architecture, people…anywhere.  Do yourself a favor and check him out here!

Mr. Putter and Tabby See the Stars, by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard

Mr. Putter normally loves his sleep, and is pretty much able to sleep any ol’ place.  But tonight…he can’t sleep.

The trouble starts with too  many pineapple jelly rolls, courtesy of dear Mrs. Teaberry.  Mrs. Teaberry loves to cook, and Mr. Putter loves to eat, but that combination has resulted in a rumbly, grumbly tummy.

Mr. Putter opts to make the best of it, however.  He scoops up Tabby and heads out the door into the beautiful, starry night.  The two of them take a fine stroll, enjoying the quiet, the Milky Way, the moonlight, and even a surprise visit with the neighbors.  A perfect way to cure what ails you!

The Mr. Putter series is my favorite Early Reader series.  I love the characters Rylant has created, the sweet, clever plot lines she’s invented, and Arthur Howard’s jovial, friendly illustrations which bring each tale to life.  If you have a new reader, find some Mr. Putter books, and prepare for smiles.

I Can’t Sleep, a wordless book, illustrated by Philippe Dupasquier

The stars are out.  The moon is shining.  The whole town is asleep in the dark, heavy, quiet.  Except.  Dad.

Click.  On comes his lamp.  Dad decides, as long as he’s lying awake, he might as well get some work done.  After awhile, his office door slowly opens and a little barefoot, nightgowned girl is standing in the doorway.  She can’t sleep either.

Downstairs they go for a glass of milk….where they are joined by her brother…and then a bedraggled mommy.  Well.  Now we’re all up, how about a sandwich?  When the cat asks to go out, Dad notices the gorgeous full moon, so out they troop to take a look at it…and the Big Dipper…and a shooting star.

When will this pajama party ever end?!  You’ll have to read to find out, but by morning light, I’ll tell you, we wind up with the whole family sound asleep in Mom and Dad’s bed!

Philippe Dupasquier’s books have appeared several times in Orange Marmalade.  I love his work and the myriad perspectives and angles on a story line which he sees and portrays.  His ability to narrate a story through pictures is magnificent here, capturing the gradually changing atmosphere, thoughts, activities, and moods in the household for us to enjoy.

Night Shift, written and illustrated by Jessie Hartland

It’s not just owls and raccoons who get up and at ’em when night falls.  There’s a whole lot of busy people working all night long, and this book will introduce you to them in razzamatazz style!

From window dressers gussying up the store mannequins to wild-eyed DJs spinning tunes; bridge painters slapping paint on ginormous city bridges and doughnut bakers turning out dozens and dozens of chocolate sprinkle confections.  So many people are busy doing such incredibly interesting things!

Hartland acquaints us with fourteen cool workers, illustrating them with  bold strokes, bright colors and all-around pizzazz!  Lots of fun details are tucked into her paintings, so don’t turn the pages too fast.   Great fun for all!

Are You Awake? written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

In the soft gray darkness, there is just one sound.  A plaintive voice calling…”Mom?”

A tiny little finger, prying open Mom’s eyelid.  “Mom?  Are you awake?”

“Mm-mm.  No,” says a very sleepy Mom.

But Edward, the little chap, is awake.  And for this Mama, you just know her efforts to stay asleep are going to be in vain.

It is 4 o’clock in the morning, but Edward is very awake.  He is full of chipper questions and happy, acrobatic motion on the big double bed.  Dad is a pilot, off at work tonight, and Mom is on solo duty, managing the perky Edward.

As the merry banter continues, Mom gradually gives up her attempts to sleep and patiently listens to her little chatterbox.  Until, along about morning, Edward finally runs out of steam, and falls asleep.

This is such a funny, charming  book about an all-too familiar scenario.  Sophie Blackall’s tender, sweet watercolors gradually drift from middle-of-the-night  charcoal hues, through subtly tinted scenes, before rosying up to a bright morning room with a zonked-out kiddo.  Though it’s a small, child-size book, the story is really best for big siblings who get the humor of the situation, or better yet, parents 🙂

Here are Amazon links for all these dreamy titles:

At Night

Mr. Putter & Tabby See the Stars

I Can’t Sleep

Night Shift

Are You Awake?