Good Night, Earth by Linda Bondestam. Translated by Galt Hasan-Rokem. Restless Books, 2021. 9781632062864
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? What a fun, quirky bedtime story! A little alien family looks at Earth through a telescope as different families try to get their little ones to sleep: Mama chimp plays 73 songs on the ukulele to little chimp, axolotl reads a favorite book, Mama cat washes her kittens’ whiskers, etc. Near the end, the aliens see Sweetie Pie, a human child, fall asleep after her parents have done all the same things as the animal parents. But then the child wakes up, sneaks into her parents’ bed and finally falls asleep again, as the parents startle awake. Now the alien baby can finally go to sleep.
There are lots of funny details to pore over. The facial expressions on the animals have very human fatigue written all over them, which will delight human parents. Baby kiwis play on an iPad while their Papa has fallen asleep. The aliens are adorable, and provide a second story while the reader waits to see what happens with each animal family. Half pages interspersed throughout allow the fun of a lift-the-flap surprise. The language, although a translation from the Swedish, is poetic, whimsical, sometimes beautiful. Linking it all together is the gorgeous art, with mixed media textures and several instances of beautiful marbled paper. The dark backgrounds evoke the nighttime, and one can only hope, cause little eyes to gently shut with sleep.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No, only that this would work better as a one on one read versus a story time offering due to the dark colors and small format,
To whom would you recommend this book? For ages 2-5.
Who should buy this book? Public libraries and day care centers. It would make a great gift for tired new parents.
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, it’s gorgeous!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: April 19, 2021