December 13, 2022

While You Sleep

Written by Jennifer Maruno
Illustrated by Miki Sato
Pajama Press
24 pp.
Ages 2-5
November 2022
My father used to say he was busy moving the clouds and polishing the stars when we were sleeping and now I know that he was telling me the truth. Seems a lot goes on when we sleep and, as the child in Jennifer Maruno's latest picture book might realize if she awoke in the night, there is a multitude of night-helpers whose tasks keep the world right.
From While You Sleep by Jennifer Maruno, illus. by Miki Sato
After a day of play, a child and her stuffies are put to bed by her mom and the cat. But, though she sleeps, there are many who are at work.
For while you sleep, there's work to be done.
Someone has to polish the sun,
Comb the grass, straighten the trees,
Place a dot on the black-eyed peas.
There is so much that goes into making the natural world wonderful: butterflies to be dusted, flowers painted, rainbows charged to keep their glow. And Jennifer Maruno tells us about all of them in the sweetest of rhyming couplets. In her dreams, the child envisions the endeavours of her own bunny stuffies sewing and weaving and creating, all to make the world she will love to be tidy and polished.
From While You Sleep by Jennifer Maruno, illus. by Miki Sato
The child may be sleeping with eyes closed but While You Sleep is a very contemplative story of seeing what could be happening in her dreams and in our natural world. It's opening eyes to the possibility of nightly magic to make our world lovely with flowers and plants, animals, and skies. Jennifer Maruno takes us into the dream world of this child to imagine and to build. It's about softness and security, wishes and hopes. It's imaging how things come to be and appreciating how they are. And, by telling her story through rhyme, Jennifer Maruno gives While You Sleep a dynamism of flow, making it a journey of childhood dreams of what might be.

Those wanderings through the natural world of her dreams are all essentially an adventure of time and space because of Miki Sato's textured collage art. Using paper, textiles and embroidery silk, Miki Sato makes the child's worlds, both her real and dream, touchable and deep both in dimension and spirit. There are elderflowers cut from lace and a Milky Way embroidered onto a midnight blue sky, and butterflies, flowers, clouds, stars and more. With deftness of cut and placement of shape, Miki Sato and her night-helpers make this child's world heavenly.
From While You Sleep by Jennifer Maruno, illus. by Miki Sato
I'm saving this book for a dear friend, envisioning her reading it to her future grandchildren. While You Sleep has the love and whimsy that I know she'll want to share with little ones, guiding them through the natural world she so appreciates and cultivates. Infused with sweetness and gratitude for a world of natural beauty, While You Sleep will be a great bedtime read and reminder that our world is one to cherish.

No comments:

Post a Comment