To author-illustrator Mordicai Gerstein, sunrise is like watching the creation of the world, and his book The Night World beautifully captures the awe-inspiring moment that marks the start of a new day. This fits in well with the Jewish morning prayer, Modei Ani, which is said upon waking and is about gratitude for the gift of being able to enjoy another day.
A young boy is awakened in the middle of the night by his cat and tiptoes after her through the house and out into the garden. In the black and grey of night-time, everything looks mysterious and different. The child-like artwork creates a mood that is friendly rather than frightening, and the accompanying words reinforce that atmosphere: the dark is “soft and comfortable”, the air is “sweet”. The animals create a sense of anticipation with their repeated whispers “it’s almost here”, until a glow appears in the sky and a glorious new day begins.
Our very youngest subscribers can enjoy the simple language, the stunning pictures of animals or the familiar setting of home, and the dramatic transition from black-and-white to colour. Toddlers can have fun identifying the shapes in the dark and can be introduced to the Jewish messages in this story at an age-appropriate level. The book begins with a quote from Genesis, Bereshit, which invites readers to extrapolate the creation of the world to the creation of a new day. Small children, for whom so much in life is new, can begin to appreciate the beauty of everyday life (the Jewish value of nisim b’chol yom) and to realise that a sunrise is just one of many things to be thankful for!
May 10, 2018