Imagine a Night


Imagine a night when you can ride your bike right up the stairs to your bed. Imagine a night when your toy train rumbles on its tracks out of your room and roars back in, full sized, ready for you to hop on for a nighttime adventure. Imagine a night when a farmer plays a lullaby on his fiddle, and his field of sunflowers begins to dip and sway to the rhythm. Imagine a night when ordinary objects magically become extraordinary...a night when it is possible to believe the ...

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Imagine a night when you can ride your bike right up the stairs to your bed. Imagine a night when your toy train rumbles on its tracks out of your room and roars back in, full sized, ready for you to hop on for a nighttime adventure. Imagine a night when a farmer plays a lullaby on his fiddle, and his field of sunflowers begins to dip and sway to the rhythm. Imagine a night when ordinary objects magically become extraordinary...a night when it is possible to believe the impossible.

With the intrigue of an Escher drawing and the richness of a Chris Van Allsburg painting, renowned Canadian artist Rob Gonsalves depicts that delicious time between sleep and wakefulness, creating a breathtaking, visual exploration of imagination and possibility that will encourage both children and adults to think past the boundaries of everyday life, and see the possibilities beyond.

Presents a night when imagination takes over and gravity does not work quite as expected.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Not quite a narrative and not quite a catalogue, this volume presents a series of hallucinatory paintings, loosely unified by atmospheric lyrics. Gonsalves specializes in optical illusions. In his Escher-like cover image, a moonlit row of pine trees reflects in a dark lake; on close observation, viewers see the mirrored space between the trees transforming into a ghostly procession of women in white gowns, illumined by sepulchral lamplight ("Imagine a night.../ ...when moonlight spills/ across the water/ to make a path/ for the lightest feet"). In two candlelit images, narrow cathedral windows metamorphose into tall men in monks' robes. An artist cuts his curtains into the silhouette of a city skyline, so that the distinction between the cloth and the horizon becomes unclear. Children glide over brown and green patchwork quilts, which turn to farmland, or cheerfully aim their wagons and bikes down a scary, roller-coaster-steep street. Thomson (Stars and Stripes, reviewed May 26) has the task of retrofitting prose to the finished images, which are related conceptually but-like the pictures in Guy Billout's recent Something's Not Quite Right-do not form a story. Each of Thomson's passages begins with the title words, and implies more pleasant dreams than the artist's playful but edgy images suggest: "Imagine a night... /...when candlelight rises/ on butterfly wings/ to greet the lonely stars." A concluding gallery of the plates emphasizes the artificiality of the secondhand narration, but Gonsalves's work nevertheless casts a spooky spell. All ages. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Sixteen incredible acrylic paintings were the inspiration for the text that invites readers to dream and fantasize of what could be. "Imagine a night...when you might find/ that gravity/ does not work/ quite as you expected." Four children on bicycles ride up a staircase and into darkness. "Imagine a night...when you cannot sleep,/ and so you jump/ high enough to soar/ over a quilt of fields and forests." Children begin bouncing on quilt-covered beds and soon find they are floating above a patchwork of fields and forests. Compelling and intriguing illustrations evoke a sense of magic and invite the viewer to pore over them again and again. The influence of Surrealist painters on Gonsalves is evident as the shapes of gothic windows become monks or when swaying to a fiddle, sunflowers turn into green-garbed women. 2003, Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster,
— Laura Hummel
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-In addition to straightforward biographical information, this book supplies historical and cultural context, which makes the facts of Carson's life and work more meaningful. For instance, Tremblay explains how the thalidomide scandal in the 1950s made the public more receptive to warnings about pesticides. Another strength of this biography is its focus on the societal barriers and personal difficulties that the scientist had to face because of her gender. This strong work is marred, however, by proofreading errors. Several are mere typos, but a few are factually incorrect. One caption states that the Chincoteague wildlife refuge is in Florida, instead of Virginia. Another photo shows Carson testifying before a Senate subcommittee in June, 1963; the caption reads "Her death would come just two days later." In fact, she died April 14, 1964.-Laurie von Mehren, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
With a set of moonlit, dreamily mysterious scenes, each of which features an M.C. Escher-like transformation, Gonsalves invites viewers to drift past reality’s familiar borders. Thompson’s captions reflect what’s happening in each surrealistic painting: "Imagine a night when the space between words becomes like the space between trees. . . ," for instance, accompanies a scene in which floorboards change to shadowy forest behind an adult reading to children. On other spreads church windows, sunflowers, and reflections on water turn into human-like figures, a quilt becomes a patchwork landscape, and a toy train turns big. Beguiling fare for fans of the likes of Chris Van Allsburg’s Mysteries of Harris Burdick (1984), Steve Johnson’s As the City Sleeps (2002), or Quint Buchholz’s subtler Collector of Moments (1999). (Picture book. 6-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689852183
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/1/2003
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 301,490
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Rob Gonsalves grew up drawing images from his imagination. Before becoming a full-time artist, Mr. Gonsalves worked as an architect. He began exhibiting paintings in Toronto in 1990, and his work is now shown throughout North America and beyond. His picture books are Imagine a Place, Imagine a Night, and Imagine a Day, which was the recipient of the Governor General’s Literary award. He currently lives in Ontario, Canada.

Sarah L. Thomson's other books include The Dragon's Son, which was named one of the best science fiction, fantasy, and horror books of 2001 by Voice of Youth Advocates; Stars and Stripes; and Imagine a Night. She lives in Maine.

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