Out of the Dark: The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein
"ME-OUT? ME-OUT?" SHE CALLS.
A tousled-haired boy sits up and sees his cat sitting silhouetted on the open window sill. Outside the world is gray-black in the starlight, but the air is warm and somehow sweet and inviting.
Downstairs, past the goldfish motionless in his bowl, the boy and Sylvie tiptoe to the back door. Sylvie urges him on.
"IT'S ALMOST HERE!"
They slip through the door into a world that is both familiar and unknown.
It is his own backyard, where he plays in the day, but the colors are not there. The grass is gray, the trees are a darker gray, and...
"ARE THESE LILIES AND SUNFLOWERS?
WHERE ARE THEIR COLORS?"
A shadowy deer and small animal shapes stare at them from the dark shapes of the bushes. And then there's a stirring in the trees. The birds are waking. The animals slip back into the dark trees, ready for their bedtime, as a pink glow begins low in the starry sky. Colors begin to grow down below, too.
THE GRASS TURNS GREEN. THE ROSES TURN PINK AND RED.
"GOOD MORNING, SUN!" SAYS SYLVIE.
"IT'S GOING TO BE A BEAUTIFUL DAY."
In a lovely celebration of the transformation of night to day, Caldecott winner Mordicai Gerstein's The Night World (Little, Brown and Company, 2015) captures the magic of the night and the glories of the dawn through the eyes of a child. And who better to be his guide than a cat, that familiar but mysterious beast both matutinal and crepescular, active at twilight and dawn, the perfect go-between for the dark nocturnal world and the busy diurnal world best known to us humans. Executed mostly on gray art paper with pencil, Gerstein's nighttime scenes evoke soft wonder rather than fear, and his invocation of the dawn calls forth a sort of primeval awe for the return of the color- and life-giving morning sun that even youngsters will feel.
The stars came out for this new book from all the reviewing journals, signalling a title which may get major attention when award-time rolls around.
For slightly older readers, don't miss the magic of Gerstein's Caldecott Medal book of the famous tightrope walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (see my 2008 review here).