June 01, 2015

Song for a Summer Night: A Lullaby

by Robert Heidbreder 
Illustrated by Qin Leng
Groundwood Books
32 pp.
Ages 3-7
May 2015

Prepare to be lulled into the joyful warmth of a lullaby that will wrap reader and listener in that soft cacophony of a Canadian summer night.  It's when children ready for bed, after long days playing outside, peer out their windows at the creeping darkness of grey periwinkle and marine blues and anticipate a nightly show of colours, sounds and textures.  The branches of trees begin the show with their shh-shh’s, followed by the glint-glint of dancing fireflies, pinging bellflowers (they are bellflowers, after all) and snapping snapdragons, waltzing raccoons, hooting owls, rhythmic crickets, and a sparkling assortment of domestic and wild noisemakers.
The children are spellbound,
attuned to the park.
Its music brightens,
lightens the dark.
(pg. 17)
The text is lyrical and the illustrations melodic. Song for a Summer Night harmonizes line and colour with the palatable sweetness of the sound splashes.  Robert Heidbreder does poetry with texture and Qin Leng’s fountain brush and ink art evoke that ethereal musicality, emphasizing darkening backgrounds with flashes of indoor lights, impressed young faces, and splotches of park green and flowers.  Oh, to be enjoying that view and orchestral piece, all without mosquitoes and flies nipping at elbows resting on window sills!

Truly a lullaby for a Canadian summer night.
(pg. 32)

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