The House in the Night

written by Susan Marie Swanson
illustrated by Beth Krommes

Susan Marie Swanson's The House in the Night
illustrated by Beth Krommes

Children's book review by Steve Barancik

Ages 0-5

A soothing Good Night book

Every home with small children needs at least one book that makes the dark and going to sleep seem all right. Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes have created a classic in the genre with this book that won the 2009 Caldecott Medal.

This is the book you read when your child's eyelids are growing heavy, and you don't want to do anything to screw it up!

The tiny story takes young readers on a short trip, on the wings of a dove, into the night to see just how much light there really is. There's starlight and car light and the sun's light shining on the face of the moon.

See? Not scary at all!

And of course, there's light in the house too, and in a little child's bedroom, if you just know where to look.

Krommes's award-winning scratchboard and watercolor pictures feature just one color - a sunny orange - on sketched black and white backgrounds. She uses the orange to light up light sources, and light reflectors and anything else that looks like it might belong in Van Gogh's Starry Night, from which she took inspiration.

Author Swanson's inspiration comes from traditional poems with cumulative patterns, like The House That Jack Built.

And with a book that weighs in at just 99 words, the pages turn quickly in front of a yawning child's eyes.

That means that a new classic like The House in the Night could result in an earlier beddy-bye time...for your child and you.

Meet more Caldecott books!

Read more of Steve's reviews.

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