Most lullaby themes are of putting away and saying goodbye. In this rhyming tale, a mother and her son get ready for bed by taking a stroll and saying hello in English and Spanish to the night.
“Hello night. Hello cricket. Hello mouse under the thicket. /Hola noche. Hola grillo. Hola arbusto y ratoncillo.” The translation is close, but word choice alters as necessary to keep the rhyme. The pair is visited by nocturnal creatures as they greet the star-studded night. At the end, the boy, cuddled in his ducky PJs, cues little listeners: “Goodnight night. It’s time to sleep. I close my eyes without a peep.”
Costales taught primary and secondary school in California, India, and Thailand. Her other children’s titles are Abuelita Full of Life and Lupe Vargas and Her Super Best Friend.
McDonald’s creamy jewel-toned illustrations evoke the hazy fantasy of bedtime. Hills, the path, trees, and even the text undulate gently in a visual rocking motion. The nighttime landscape is luminous; the scenes feel intimate and comforting. The images encompass both cultures. In one illustration, the child and mother look over a lagoon glowing with the light of a huge apricot moon in which nestles a giant dreamy rabbit. In Aztec mythology, the moon god’s face was darkened by a rabbit so it could not shine as brightly as the sun. McDonald has illustrated other children’s books such as Morning in the Jungle and Fairy Trails.
The text’s simple song makes this a lovely bedtime story in both languages and helps children say goodbye to false monsters, hello to the rich nocturnal world.
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