Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems

switching-on-the-moonCindy: Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters have collected over sixty delightful poems to read at bedtime ranging from classics to contemporary and from silly to quietly lulling in Switching on the Moon (Candlewick 2010). G. Brian Karas’ gouache, acrylic and pencil illustrations are charming and the generous book size makes it easy for parent and child to fall into this collection and get lost in the art and poetry. Yolen’s poem “Night Noises in the City” pays tribute to the city sounds a young child hears but there are plenty of rural firefly catching and star gazing in the collection too. Some double page spreads feature a single poem but others share the illustration with nicely paired poems. One of these juxtaposes the traditional lullaby “Rock-a-by, Baby” with a traditional West Indian version, “Rack-a-bye, Baby,”

Rack-a-bye, baby,
Pon tap a tree tap,
Wen de win blow
De crib a go swing;
Wen de lim bruck
De crib a go drap,
Den lim, crib an baby,
Eberyting drap. BRAP!

This is an anthology that will make a beautiful baby gift, but one that will grow with the child, and one that offers thoughtful poems for the adult readers too. Take this gem by co-editor Peters:


I wonder at the stars by night
These little chandeliers of light
I wonder if in turn they see
The tiny spark that makes up me?

Lynn:  Cindy is so right about this being a book a child can grow up with.  This is one to happily dip into and savor in small bites – one or two or three poems just before turning out the light.  The book is divided into three sections:  Going to Bed, Sweet Dreams and In the Night.  Bath time poems are part of the first section and those were some of our favorites especially one titled “Bath Time Pirate.”  We have a big jacuzzi tub at my house and bath time turns into a wild time when three little boys are all in at the same time.  Turn on the jets and you’ve got a little boy whirlpool!  The little boys love this poem even if they don’t share the sentiment from Jo Ellen Bogart:

Why can’t I go to bed dirty?

What so special about being clean?

I was dirty today.  I’ll get dirty again.

So why bother to wash in between?

G. Brian Karas’ amusing illustrations and these wonderfully chosen poems will turn any kid into a poetry fan!

nonfiction_mondayHead over to Wild About Nature for more Nonfiction Monday treasures.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

1 Comment on "Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems"

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  1. andykaiser@gmail.com' Andy Kaiser says:

    I had the opportunity years ago to sit in a small group and listen to Jane Yolen recite a bunch of poems and fairy tales from memory. If anyone has this chance, I strongly suggest you take it. She’s a really entertaining and engaging storyteller.

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