Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Before Morning

Before Morning

Joyce Sidman
Illustrator:  Beth Krommes 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2016   ISBN: 978-0547979175

A little girl and her mother arrive home on a cold winter night. Dinner is on the table and all should be well, but the little girl is sad. Soon her mother is going to be leaving for the airport where her plane and crew await her. She is a pilot and her job means that she has to leave home for days at a time.

The little girl hides her mother’s pilot hat, but has to give it back. Her mother has to go to work and there is nothing that can be done about it. While the little girl sleeps “In the deep woolen dark” that is now freckled with snowflakes, the pilot packs her bags and leaves the house. What the mother does not know is that her daughter has sent a wish up into the night, a wish asking for the snow to come and “Let the air turn to feathers, / the earth turn to sugar.” The little girl wants everything to be “swaddled” in a blanket of snow.

The hope is that the snow will be heavy enough that “urgent plans founder,” and planes will be grounded so that her mother will be able to come home to her.

With gorgeous scratchboard art what is rich in textures, and a magical rhyming text that is beautiful in its minimalism, this unique picture book celebrates the power of a child’s wish.