Review of What Color Is Night?

What Color Is Night?
by Grant Snider; illus. by the author
Preschool    Chronicle    48 pp.
11/19    978-1-4521-7992-6    $15.99

“What color is night? / Is it only black… / and white?” So begins an evocative picture book that urges young viewers to “look closer” at the night — to see, for example, the golden glow of fireflies, the neon lights of the city, the silver of the Milky Way, the green of a raccoon’s eyes. Deeply saturated double-page spreads use inky dark backgrounds to effectively highlight those pops of color and light. And though it is the striking art that may rivet a child audience’s attention, the text, with its soothing rhythms and strong near-rhymes full of rich long vowels (“road” / “glow”), is an equal partner. The shivery, otherworldly quality of both art and text ramps up at the end, where the little girl we initially saw looking out her window into the darkness dreams of flying through the sky in a hot-air balloon, soaring above pink and purple clouds into “a night of good dreams.” Pair this with Mordicai Gerstein’s The Night World (rev. 5/15) to show the dark as something to explore and appreciate, not fear.

From the March/April 2020 Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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