Quill and Quire


« Back to
Book Reviews

The Way to Slumbertown

by Lucy Maud Montgomery; Rachel Bedard, illus.

L.M. Montgomery’s famous name will attract readers to this lullaby picture book, which is based on a poem first published in a magazine in 1916. Replete with lyrical visions and dreamy sentiment, the poem is one we can imagine Anne Shirley herself reading to her own children.

The poem’s narrators express the wish to travel to Slumbertown “within a new moon boat … with silver oar and mast of pearl and sail of old moonbeams,” or “upon a white moth’s back.” But, they assure us, the best way there is “by the way of mother’s arms and mother’s rocking chair,” affirming this eternally comforting image. Although the poem is brief (only 12 lines), it scans perfectly and catches a lilting bedtime rhythm.

Quebec native Rachel Bedard’s illustrations are full of pale and dark blues, pearly whites, mossy greens, and warm creamy hues. The images have slightly unfocused edges, capturing the hazy dreamworld of four siblings preparing for sleep. On the final double-page spread, their beds float to a distant shore (the Coast of Lullabies) under a faraway glowing moon.

Montgomery’s old-fashioned imagery may be a pleasant change for contemporary children, who are sure to be attracted to the finished cover, with its picture of children riding on the back of a white moth with wings tipped in silvery foil. No matter what age they live in, children still need comfort and companionship when settling into bed, and this poem, written almost a hundred years ago, serves its purpose very well indeed.


Reviewer: Jessica Kelley

Publisher: Lobster Press


Price: $19.95

Page Count: 24 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 1-894222-98-9

Released: Sept.

Issue Date: 2005-7

Categories: Picture Books

Age Range: 3-8