The Sound Of Day , The Sound Of Night

By Mary O'Neil, Pictures By Cynthia Jabar

  • Age Range: 3 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374371350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374371357

Book Reviews


Jabar's imaginative interpretation of O'Neill's economical verse enhances the poems' evocative power; in turn, the sprightly childlike pictures take on a deep emotional resonance.


PreSchool-Grade 2-Two image-filled poems by O'Neill, the author of Hailstones and Halibut Bones (Turtleback, 1961), appear together in a picture-book format. In the first section, rhyming verses evoke the hustle and bustle of a busy day, "Bus honks and bells,/Dishes and shoes,/Whirring of tires and/Crackle of news." The night poem stanzas are filled with whispery words describing lullabies, "Tiptoe footsteps," fluttering curtains, and kitten purrs. Each selection is picturesque and evocative; with closed eyes, listeners can conjure up pictures in their minds. Jabar's expressionistic style depicts the verse in vibrant, vivacious paintings. The illustrations are lively, fun, and tell a story of their own. While the art links the two unique poems nicely, it may occasionally distract listeners from the cadence, flow, and imagery of the poetry. Nevertheless, many families will enjoy reading this successful picture book again and again.
Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL
Review Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


PreS-Gr. 2. O'Neill died in 1990, but her poetry easily crosses into a new century. Here, her knowing images capture what the sounds of the day and sounds (and silence) of the night mean to two children. Jabar's artwork extends the poetry to tell the story of a new addition to the children's family. In the morning, the children get ready for school while Dad does the dishes. Where's Mom? The day goes by, "Questioning, / answering / Licking and chewing, / Scolding and praising" with the family ending up at the hospital, where Mom waits with a new baby. With night come the sounds of lullabies, and after the child is put down, the winter silence becomes a hush, "the sound / of snowflakes touching / on the ground." Upon first hearing, kids will simply enjoy the way the words fall, but as they look at the thickly painted artwork, bursting with family love, they'll come to understand how a new presence in the house brings its own special sounds. A feast for the ears and eyes. Ilene Cooper
Review Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved