Monday, March 23, 2020

Review - Lilah Tov Good Night

Lilah Tov Good Night
by Ben Gundersheimer
illustrated by Noar Lee Naggan
Date: 2020
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

A Hebrew lullaby takes on added meaning for a refugee family.

As the moon rises, a family steps into the night on a journey toward a new beginning. Along the way, their little girl delights in the wonders of nature, saying good night--lilah tov--to the creatures and landscapes they pass. Wherever she looks--on land, in the sky above and even, eventually, in the water below her boat--there are marvels to behold. "Lilah tov to the birds in the trees, lilah tov to the fish in the sea." Then, when their travels are finally over, her parents tuck her in tight, safe and ready for dreams in their new home.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This rhyming picture book would make a nice bedtime read. Hopefully, kids will be too sleepy to ask questions about the someone threadbare plot.

The family are obviously refugees, but the reader doesn't know why. In fact, the book starts on a rather idyllic note (at the end of "a long and beautiful day") and then the parents pack up their kids and leave. I went back to try to look for clues as to why they felt compelled to embark upon a risky journey with a young child and an infant, but I couldn't see any. (For the purposes of a picture book, this sort of makes sense. But I'm sure there are going to be kids who ask, "Why are they leaving their home?" Parents will have to get creative and come up with their own answers, because there aren't any here.)

The illustrations are interesting to look at, if a little fanciful. I'm not sure what kind of Jewish refugee journey would be undertaken across the sea in nothing but a rowboat, but that's what happens here. I guess it's supposed to be more symbolic than literal.

Overall, this isn't bad. It has a nice rhythm and would make a good book for winding down at the end of a long and beautiful day.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3 out of 5

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