The Goodnight Book: A Dream State

Review by Mo Duffy Cobb

How do you say good night? Author Lori Joy Smith asks in her new artistic reverie, The Goodnight Book.  

“Mommy, please, one more.” In classic bedtime theme, young readers are invited into the world of fainting farewells, and the ever-living world of tomorrow's tomorrows. Drawing upon the natural realm, writer and illustrator Lori Joy Smith begins with the soft bedroom kisses of good night, bonne nuit, buenas noches.  But soon, The Goodnight Book's organic shapes begin to take on a life of their own, with much left to interpretation.
Have you ever wondered if the tulips say goodnight to their bulbs, the crab grass to its beach, the mountains to the moon? Smith has, and her exploration of the world's magic doesn’t stop there, her hues soon hatching their own bedtime spectrum.

I loved the gentleness of this tale, the mysteries of the creatures, and the bits of sleepy dream space where enchantment and invention prevail. Smith sheds a final sun's ray on the secret world of the abstract in complimentary colors and shapes, softly balancing each page. Even the sun gets sleepy when setting.

Smith dreams in owly souls who say “took a boo,” and slumberous baby whale fish who cuddle their young with an evening's gentle “light away.” She dreams in comfortable nests and fluffy white pillows, sweet tempered seaweeds that sway in the current. With her forms blending into the night, Smith dreams in beginnings, not endings, in possibilities, not promises.

Bedtimes have long been fertile ground for the imagination, of monster mains and kings in the closet. Smith's pages now quell babes and big kids alike, with sudden urges for water and back rubs finally subsiding. In The Goodnight Book, our contemplation become real, the textures of Smith's nuzzling light taking shape as we slowly, slowly drift out to sea.

Lori Joy Smith is the illustrator of three books now, "Noisy Poems for a Busy Day", (Robert Heidbreder) and "Run Salmon Run" (Bobs & Lolo). "The Goodnight Book" is the first story that Lori has both written and illustrated, a story come to life from the fuzzy depths of her own children's bedrooms.

Illustrated, 16 Pages. (Simply Reads Books, 2014)

Mo Duffy Cobb lives in Charlottetown PEI. She is a ferocious writer, an English teacher and a student of Creative Nonfiction at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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