In the Sky at Nighttime
In the Sky at Nighttime
In the sky at nighttime,
our laughter twists through the crisp, cold air.
We watch the northern lights dance and twirl,
painting bright colours across the endless sky.
Inhabit Media again celebrates the beauty of the North through a mother’s lullaby. Laura Deal’s prose poem touches evening events that are pleasant and comforting to a young child, from the laughter of friends to a hunter’s arriving safely home after a long hunt, from snowflakes falling to a crunching walk on the snow.
The sentences have a quiet lilt; repetition of In the sky at nighttime is soothing, We watch the northern lights dance and twirl, painting bright colours across the endless sky and a mother’s delicate song to her child rises like a gentle breeze evoke precise imagery and spark imagination.
The final lines of the poem would be more satisfying if the time order were reversed: At peace with the day ahead would fit better as a last line as the child falls asleep, leaving the day he or she has just left behind, anticipating the next. At peace suits the satisfaction with the day just experienced; a child usually looks forward with joy to what’s about to happen.
The illustrations by Quebec artist Tamara Campeau bring out the rich, velvety purples and blues that complement the dark of night. The fiery greeny yellows of the Northern Lights starkly outline the snow-covered mountains against the sky. Campeau’s art shows the natural and physical environment beautifully as well as the way northerners live in this challenging location. The interiors of the houses are lit with electric light, the people wear brighter colours, but the atmosphere reflects the deep quiet of the Arctic evening.
There is one contradiction between the words and the artwork. In the sky at nighttime, a raven roosts atop a tall building./Calling out through the dark, he tells others of his find - does not show the raven bringing anything in its talons to share with its family.
In the Sky at Nighttime is suitable for the very young who are learning to enjoy the magic of listening to stories, holding books and learning from pictures. This lyrical narrative can encourage the bond between children and their caregivers, creating happy memories of childhood.
Harriet Zaidman is a children’s and freelance writer living in Winnipeg, Manitoba.