Light the Night: It's A Firefly Night by Dianne Ochiltree
WHEN THE MOON IS HIGH
AND THE STARS ARE BRIGHT,
DADDY TELLS ME
IT'S A FIREFLY NIGHT.
There are warm nights in early summer when an ordinary backyard is bright with magical lights, a night when the fireflies, or lightning bugs, first appear, lifting off from the ground and slowly ascending through the air to the trees, dip... flash... dip... flash...dip... flash.
In their nightclothes, a pink gown for the girl, bathrobe and slippers for Dad, the two go outside into the early moonlight. The girl, filled with that primeval urge to capture a piece of that magic for herself, has a big jar in which she proceeds to capture one, two, three, four fireflies until at last she has ten, making a little lantern of greenish light that she can hold in her hands.
I LOVE CATCHING FIREFLIES
BUT THEY ARE NOT MINE.
I TAKE ONE GENTLY
OUT OF THE JAR.
In that peculiar way of the lightning bug, slowly climbing up the hand until it reaches the highest point before it carefully opens its carapace and spreads its wings, all ten of the fireflies are set free to rise again through the air until her jar is again empty, leaving her hoping that
... TOMORROW WILL BE A FIREFLY NIGHT.
In their just-published It's a Firefly Night (Blue Apple, 2013) Dianne Ochiltree's lyric verse and Betsy Snyder's soft color collages convey something of the wonder and excitement of a summer night lit by those mystery bugs capable of generating light without heat. The author and illustrator together catch some of that joy of childhood, running barefoot through the twilight to catch and hold a bit of that wondrous light in hand, and then setting it free to light another night. The author also appends a double-page spread of firefly facts which only add to the fascination of these truly phenomenal little beetles.