A family trip turns into an adventure of discovery for a curious and carefree sister and brother. While the two explore the natural wonders of the seashore, woods, and fields, their parents plant trees as an offering of thanks for all they have received. In Jewish tradition, this is called tikkun olam, or repairing the world. As the children settle down to sleep, they are lulled by the soothing sounds around them that become the refrain: "good night, laila tov"—the same comforting words in English and Hebrew that...
A family trip turns into an adventure of discovery for a curious and carefree sister and brother. While the two explore the natural wonders of the seashore, woods, and fields, their parents plant trees as an offering of thanks for all they have received. In Jewish tradition, this is called tikkun olam, or repairing the world. As the children settle down to sleep, they are lulled by the soothing sounds around them that become the refrain: "good night, laila tov"—the same comforting words in English and Hebrew that their parents recite to them every night at bedtime.
Laurel Snyder's lilting poem is both a song of praise to the beauty of nature and a gentle lullaby. Jui Ishida's rich, jewel-tone illustrations illuminate the text and incorporate details that readers will love to discover.
On a camping vacation that takes two Jewish children and their parents from the beach, where “Tall grasses swayed. The salty air/ Was soft and still and everywhere,” to “a place so great and green,/ The deepest field we’ve ever seen,” the family savors the gifts of nature and the rewards of environmental stewardship. (Mom and Dad have even brought along some trees to plant.) And in return, the whole world offers a kind of thanks and blessing that becomes Snyder’s (Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher) refrain: “And the sky sang... Good night, laila tov.” Ishida (Somewhere So Sleepy) portrays a world that’s all soft, lush colors and comfy, cushy contours. Her sunset scenes, which find the siblings sleeping while their parents set up camp, are perhaps a little too similar to those taking place in broad daylight (and some readers may wonder why the children spend so much of their vacation asleep). But the warmly lit spreads and loving, rosy-cheeked family are a nice match for Snyder’s simple, lulling verse. Ages 3–6. Agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. (Mar.)
- Judy Silverman
This is a beautifully illustrated book, whose plot does not seem to go anywhere. A family is going camping; they get to the ocean and the parents begin to set up the tent, but then suddenly they have found a lovely meadow and set the tent up there. Now everybody and everything is saying goodnight—the hills, the ocean, the birds calling from the skies, the mountains in the distance. But it is not time for bed yet, although there have been lots of naps! Next, the family decides they must do their small part in repairing the world—they plant some tiny trees that they have brought with them. Eventually these trees will grow and become part of the forest that surrounds them. The little trees say goodnight, too. Finally, the family goes to sleep. The next day they drive home, are exhausted when they arrive, and everyone says goodnight again—"goodnight, laila tov." Well, we have learned a phrase in Hebrew. Not a strong enough book to recommend, although the pictures are lovely. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
The wonder of the natural world becomes more meaningful through active engagement with it. A young family's camping vacation makes two significant overnight stops, one at the seaside and one further inland in a lush green field. As parents set up tents, brother and sister feel the hot sand, marvel at the wide waves, breathe in the salty air and hear the wind's English/Hebrew whisper of "good night, laila tov." Similarly, while parents plant new tree seedlings in the field, children gather berries, are awed by field mice, surprised by bees and ultimately fall asleep to the rhythmic pattern of rain that mimics the "good night, laila tov" message. Bright, often full double-page scenes in deeply rich, opaque hues on textured paper bring out the natural essence of this sweet bedtime piece told in lilting rhyme. "We drove out to the oceanside. / The sand was hot. The waves were wide. / Tall grasses swayed. The salty air / Was soft and still and everywhere." The continual assurance of its repetitive refrain, found on every other page, complements the theme of caring for nature's beauty. Though the Judaic concept of tikkun olam, or repairing the world, is not explicitly stated within the text, it pervades the whole. A wholesome and gentle story that's pleasant and soothing for little ones of all faiths, though it will have extra resonance in Jewish households. (Picture book. 2-4)
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Meet the Author
When she's not out exploring the great green world with her kids, the indefatiguable LAUREL SNYDER writes picture books, among them Nosh, Schlep, Schluff: BabYiddish; Baxter, thePig Who Wanted to Be Kosher; and Inside the Slidy Diner, as well as the novels Bigger than a Breadbox, Penny Dreadful, Any Which Wall, and Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains. Originally from Baltimore, she now makes her home in Atlanta, conveniently close to an urban farm and a kudzu-tangled creek. Visit her at LaurelSnyder.com
JUI ISHIDA was born in Taiwan and raised in Japan. She studied illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and graduated with distinction. She has illustrated many children's books including Somewhere So Sleepy by Diane Muldrow, Sail Away, Little Boat by Janet Buell, and God Created by Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones. Jui lives in Long Beach, California, with her husband and two children.