Things that go bump in the night

Ankle biter 1’s finger dexterity is coming into its own and thus this week’s book reflects such tactility. For someone who likes to tear library books (not that we’re counting but our local has been the recipient of three brand spanking new replacements), it’s a marvel that this book with its many flaps teasing to be torn remains unscathed. Night time by Anna Milbourne and Simona Dimitri is a gorgeous reflection of what happens across the urban landscape as the moon rises. Sturdy and vibrant, two page spreads entice little ones to seek the mystery behind windows, doors, lampposts, leaves, train carriages, and market cellars. Although highlighting the work of city residents, bakers, cafes and fresh food vendors, this book also showcases the vivacity of nocturnal animals such as owls, foxes and bats. It introduces a world existing beyond the confines of ankle biter’s slumber and ends as dawn ascends.

At night, when the moon is up and the stars are twinkling all the streets are quiet. Is everybody fast asleep?

A true book for when the lights go out and bedtime beckons. It makes night time a little less ominous. I enjoyed this book because although it narrates that the day is ‘noisy and busy’, it depicts the necessity of evening labour required for a thriving city. Sure, it doesn’t illustrate the fluoro lights of what Jaime Lerner respects as the Unknown 24-hour Shopkeeper: shops that  “not only offer infinite shelves of merchandise but also enliven whole neighbourhoods by literally lighting up countless dreary street corners.”  But the images of this book do connect readers with relationships between the natural and the manmade: from the similarities of glow worms and train track workers to the transportation of fresh food to the markets. It shares the hustle and bustle that creates what I consider an urban I’d like my ankle biters to understand confidently.

Ankle biter 1 liked imprinting his world onto the surprises awaiting beneath the flaps. Within the first window, he noticed that he and ankle biter 2 were “not sleeping.” He saw “daddy riding his bike with a light.” He wanted to know why the rats were hiding. He obviously lingered on the double spread with the trains. “Why are oranges going for a ride?” Thank you for the lil soap box segue about fruits growing on trees and the importance of eating with the seasons. “Yum” (as he pretend picks a strawberry from the market on the next page). This book just keeps giving.

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Vivian Romero

I want to activate the urban imagined: stimulating, healthy and sustainable spaces for all (especially the young and young at heart).

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