I became an instant fan of artist Christopher Silas Neal after reading Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals' Lives, a fantastic non-fiction book, by Lola M. Schaefer. His newest book, Go to Sleep, Little Farm, writtenMary Lyn Ray, is another visual treat. While the illustrations, which often play nicely against the text, may be a bit stronger than the writing, there is much to enchant little listeners.
Go to Sleep, Little Farm begins, "Somewhere a bee makes a bed in a rose, because the bee knows day has come to a close."
Rhymes and almost rhymes drift across the pages while Neal's illustrations show the natural world shutting down for the night and the parallel story of a little girl getting ready for bed. The page that reads "Somewhere a bear," is followed by, "finds a bed in a log," while the page turn reveals the little girl reading a book under the covers of her bed, just like a bear in a log.
Ray does create some lovely lines, like when "a story goes to sleep in a book," and a "pocket sleeps in a skirt." She ends her story with a secret that, "curls in an ear, just as dreams flicker near . . ." and the little girl's dream-flight back over the events of the book, putting the animals to bed. It is Neal's twilight palette and detailed illustrations that have a retro feel that keep you turning the pages and feeling sleepy.
Christopher Silas Neal's other books:
Source: Review Copy