Quill and Quire

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Night Flight

by Mireille Messier; Carl Pelletier, illus.

Luca has an active imagination – especially at night, when he should be sleeping. Everyday objects in his bedroom suggest multiple adventures, and all he has to do is whisper, “Moonlight, Starlight, Twilight, Night Flight!” and off he goes. Sometimes he is a pirate sailing stormy seas and battling dinosaurs; sometimes he is Sir Knight of Succotash fighting a dragon; at other times he is an archaeologist discovering lost treasure. His parents always check on him and pull him back to reality just in time, urging him to stop the ruckus and go to sleep, but the adventures soon continue.

This charming book takes seriously the  desire of young children for both adventure and comfort. The parents’ interruptions are neatly fitted into Luca’s imaginary worlds: “The sultan of the bathroom / brings a goblet for his thirst, / And whispers to him softly, / ‘Play tomorrow. Sleep first!’” Messier’s rhyming text is lively and keeps the story moving along, although at times the rhythm falters and some rhymes seem forced.

Pelletier’s colourful illustrations capture Luca’s bright dream-world perfectly, creating clever visual links between the dream-adventures and Luca’s ordinary life: his toothbrush becomes a “toothbrush-sword” for fending off dragons, the dromedaries in the desert carry his mother’s freshly laundered towels, and Luca’s yellow lampshade appears in several different journeys, visually binding the narrative together. Young readers will enjoy spotting these connections.