The ABC Book of Lullabies

Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

The ABC Book of Lullabies is a collection of lullabies, some familiar, some less so. Some contain extra verses that are less well known. But these lullabies have been gathered to showcase the work of some popular Australia’s children’s illustrators. There are thirteen double spreads and each features a lullaby illustrated by a different illustrator. Styles vary from realistic to fantasy, from watercolour to Photoshop. Many depict night-time scenes, but others, like Tamsin Ainslie’s illustration for ‘Lavender’s Blue’ depict an imaginary garden that is part collage. Lullabies like ‘Lavender’s Blue’ show that it’s sometimes less the words that count than the mood of the singer/singing. Emma Quay’s illustrations for ‘The Man in the Moon’ also grace the cover.

Books like The ABC Book of Lullabies are produced for two audiences simultaneously: the child who focuses on the images as the words are read to them and the adult (usually) who is reading. Each will take different things from the reading. An adult may well be interested in the differences between the images and the differing styles of each illustrator. Short bios, including sketches and photos are included in the final pages for those readers. Each illustrator shares a little about what they do and why, and why they’ve chosen the particular lullaby. Children will enjoy this collection whatever time they read or are read to, but it does make a lovely bedtime collection. For adults, The ABC Book of Lullabies is a bit like a sampler, introducing the work of some of Australia’s most talented illustrators. Or perhaps an illustrators’ version of a anthology. Recommended for 3-6 year olds and adults who love illustration.

The ABC Book of Lullabies

The ABC Book of Lullabies, various illustrators
ABC Books 2008
ISBN: 9780733323621

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