Now That Night is Near

h1 August 5th, 2021 by jules

“Come now little one, it’s time to go to sleep.
All the little children are tucked up in bed.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


Today’s book was first published in Swedish in 2019 as Alla Ska SovaNow That Night is Near, written by the great Astrid Lindgren and illustrated in gouache, ink, watercolors, colored pencils, pastels, and acrylics by Swedish-Dutch author-illustrator Marit Törnqvist. The English version is now on shelves (May 2021, Floris), and as you can see above in the book’s opening spread, it is an invitation.

While adults don’t always need an invitation to sleep, rambunctious children do. Lindgren’s is a soothing, rhythmic, calming one: “Everyone is going to sleep, now that night is near,” we read — mamas, papas, cows and calves, foals, piglets, rabbits, lambs, and even cats. With pleasing repetition, variations on the dark being near, the text rolls along. Readers see soft, textured illustrations that capture the natural world at twilight beyond the house where the child is tucked into bed — rolling hills, sleeping animals, the shimmering surface of a lake, the sky changing from a lemony yellow to the deep blues of night, and much more. In the penultimate spread, we see the child’s small house and nearby lake from high above: “Everything that lives on earth,” we read, “Everything is going to sleep, now that night is here.”

The child’s black cat makes its way from the window of the bedroom to the front yard of the house and heads down a long trail into the forest, wandering and exploring. The cat is our guide. Eventually, it sleeps, at night, on the child’s bed, curled up on a green blanket. The room is dark, yet we can still see the toys all about the room. The child’s eyes are closed: “Even cats are going to sleep, as bedtime is here.”

It’s a lovely, lilting bedtime treat.

Here are some spreads. …


“The cows and calves are sleeping in the fields.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“All the little foals, all the little piglets …”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“All the little rabbits, all the little lambs —
Everyone is going to sleep, now that night is near.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“Birds on branches and spiders on webs …”
(Click spread to enlarge)

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NOW THAT NIGHT IS NEAR. First published in Swedish as Alla Ska Sova by Rabén & Sjögren in 2019. First published in English by Floris Books in 2020. Text © Astrid Lindgren. Illustrations © 2019 Marit Törnqvist. English version © 2020 Floris Books. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher.

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