The sun goes down, the children gather, and the animals come out to sing. So begins Vancouver poet Robert Heidbreder’s enchanting bedtime tale Song for a Summer Night. As a curtain of stars is thrown across the sky, the whispering leaves and the “glint-glint” of the fireflies make their entrance, followed by waltzing raccoons, bouncing dogs, and more, as creatures of all kinds join in a nighttime chorus. With the approach of dawn, the curtain falls and the performance comes to an end. The children slip into their beds, “eyes shut sleep-tight. They know singing dreams will ring round them all night.”
Heidbreder’s gentle rhymes celebrate the natural world from a child’s perspective, perfectly capturing tiny details and the secret thrill of being awake in the wee hours. With each turn of the page, the poem builds, sound upon sound, inviting young readers to join in the revelry. ‘
Toronto illustrator and animator Qin Leng brings Heidbeder’s poem to life through illustrations that are filled with colour and whimsy. Cast in the soft blues of a summer evening, Leng’s illustrations capture scampering wildlife and spellbound children, and include many small details for young readers to discover and ponder.
Song for a Summer Night is sure to become a favourite at bedtime. Young readers will love the building repetition of the animals’ song, and the story will provide a friendly animal face to the sounds little ones might hear in the night.