Do I ever have an eccentric and charming book for you!
Stories of the Night, written and illustrated by Kitty Crowther
translated into English by Julia Marshall
originally published in Sweden in 2017; English edition by Gecko Press, 2018
Coming to us from Sweden, this is the story of Little Bear and his marvelous, story-telling mother. It’s time for bed, and Little Bear has put in an order for three-count-’em-three stories. He even knows precisely which ones he wants.
First up is the story of the Night Guardian, a trollish looking woman with candy-colored hair that trails to the ground as she meanders through the forest with her tiny gong.
Donnnnnng Donnnnnnnnng, she sounds the gong to let her various charges — the fish, the ant, an ermine — know that it’s time to go to sleep. Each one voices its small protestations, as all young ones do at bedtime, but in the end she settles them all down, including herself.
Next comes a story about “the little girl with a sword who gets lost,” featuring a tiny girl named Zhora on a berry-picking adventure and her timid pal, Jacko Mollo, who is a….well, I cannot tell you everything, can I?…and their search for a snug place to sleep.
Finally is a story about a bearded fellow named Bo who never takes off his coat. It seems he is struggling with insomnia. How will he ever get to sleep?
Prolifically illustrated with brave schloops of ravishing pink, surreal shapes, and wobbly, childlike line, we readers are instantly transported to another world, a forested place with an aroma of Scandinavian mythology, yet wholly new. Mother Bear’s narration, likewise, is innocent, maternal, with an ad lib quality to these stories she has surely invented herself and told dozens and dozens of times to her drowsy little son.
A unique, delightful, imaginative read for ages 3 and up.