Wynken, Blynken, and Nod: A Poem

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Overview

For over one hundred years, children have been lulled to sleep by Eugene Field's lilting lyrics recounting the voyage of Wynken, Blynken and Nod, who set off in a wooden shoe to sail "on a river of crystal light, into a sea of dew."

Johanna Westerman sets her picture book interpretation of this beloved bedtime poem in a moonlit Dutch landscape. Her fisherman, three children dressed in nightclothes and their fey little cat, navigate a sturdy ...

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Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

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Overview

For over one hundred years, children have been lulled to sleep by Eugene Field's lilting lyrics recounting the voyage of Wynken, Blynken and Nod, who set off in a wooden shoe to sail "on a river of crystal light, into a sea of dew."

Johanna Westerman sets her picture book interpretation of this beloved bedtime poem in a moonlit Dutch landscape. Her fisherman, three children dressed in nightclothes and their fey little cat, navigate a sturdy sabot across the starry sky on what is indeed - "all so pretty a sail."

The artist's muted palette captures the night's special luminosity, producing illustrations that are as soothing to the eyes as Field's verses are to the ears. The result is a bedtime book that will send little ones off to pleasant dreams of the "wonderful sights that be."

In this bedtime poem, three fishermen in a wooden shoe catch stars in their nets of silver and gold.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Inspired by Field's bedtime poem with its night sky of ``twinkling foam,'' Westerman (The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat) conjures forth an eerie, luminous sea- and skyscape, aglitter with splendid silver ``herring fish'' stars. Three children and their cat enact the roles of Field's fishermen as they sail off in a wooden shoe boat, its sail made from a patched sheet. While not surrealistic, the characters and setting are thoroughly dreamlike. The artist's predominantly blue-green palette influences not only the pictures of the sea and moon, but also the children's faces. They stare like ghostly sleepwalkers, their countenances reflecting the blue of the sky, while the crater-mottled moon floats off through the sea's ruffled waves. The night-as-sea illustrations echo the imagery of the text, but Westerman adds more action with the children returning home, anchoring their boat to the chimney and climbing through a gabled window to their bed. Westerman's inventive design elements (the real bedroom's quilt and decor are similar to the visual motifs in the dreamscape) provide a soothing accompaniment for the familiar text, a staple for bedtime reading. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Wendy Ricci
This well-known bedtime poem is based on the original by Eugene Field. It is a tale of three Dutch children who dream that they set out one night to sail in their "boat"-an oversized wooden shoe. The reader later discovers that the "wooden shoe boat" was really the children's little wooden trundle bed and the sparkling herring that they caught was really the stars in the sky. The verses to this poem are music to the ears and the illustrations provide a quiet, relaxing accompaniment. An excellent bedtime story for young children.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1This classic bedtime poem appears in a newly illustrated edition; previous versions include those illustrated by Susan Jeffers (Dutton 1982), Sheilah Beckett (Putnam, 1986; o.p.), Barbara Cooney (Hastings, 1991), and Cathy Beylon (Golden, 1992). Westerman's minutely detailed watercolors depict a Dutch landscape where three children, dressed in nightclothes, and a cat set sail in a wooden shoe. The luminosity of the moonlit sea is captured in muted shades of blue that create a soothing mood for the dramatic verse. Spacious design featuring full-page, neatly bordered pictures opposite the text enhances the quiet mood. The elaborate typeface is artistically in keeping with the 19th-century flavor of the poem.Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY
Carolyn Phelan
Eugene Field's famous lullaby has inspired several picture books. Libraries with Barbara Cooney's classic version and Susan Jeffers' popular edition on the shelves may feel they have enough, but Westerman's interpretation of the lyrical verses deserves consideration, not because she offers a revolutionary vision, but because she captures the tone of the poem in a fittingly traditional way. The large watercolor paintings feature seas and skies of deep blue greens spangled with white stars, fish, and foam. A benevolent moon lights the pretty scenes of children venturing through their sea of dreams and returning to their cozy bed. A pleasing rendition of an old favorite.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558584228
  • Publisher: North-South Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 146,774
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.74 (w) x 11.47 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Eugene Field (1850-1895) is best known for his children's poetry.
Giselle Potter is the illustrator of "The Boy Who Loved Words "by Roni Schotter, which received two starred reviews, "The Littlest Grape Stomper "by Alan Madison, and "Kate and the Beanstalk "(a "Publishers Weekly "and "School Library Journal "Best Book and ALA Notable Book). She lives in Kingston, New York.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Westerman is a graduate of Scripps College, where hse majored in studio art.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Best Bedtime Story Ever!

    My toddler loves this book, and he knows it by heart. Needless to say we read it every night!

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  • Posted September 28, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    This is a fanciful tale that would be most appropriate as a bedtime story. There are lots of Dutch themes and symbolism throughout. The artwork is beautiful, and it does help spur the imagination. It is a quick read, too, so easy to get through and parents and kids are all happy. Loved it!

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    Beautiful Illustrations

    My mom told this poem to me as I was nodding off to sleep. It brings back such beautiful memories. It is my tried and true baby gift now and one that I read to my own children. I just love the colors and it is always received with appreciation and always starts a good conversation from those who know the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2008

    favorite as a child

    I remember when I was a child my mum reading it to me. And I bought it to read to my sons. Recently I bought it for 2 of my expectant friend so hopefully they will read it to thier children as well.

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