At the Stroke of Goodnight
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"Rice's rhythmic lullaby is calming and mild, suited well to a bedtime wind-down."
- Publishers Weekly
"A lyrical poem fit for any bedtime ritual.
Rice captures the soothing rhythms of the night in an ode to bedtime that will please any toddler. Using what appear to be cut-paper silhouettes on solid and gradient-color backings, Rice fills each page with images of evening repose: ducks napping, deer browsing, a squirrel sleeping, and so on. The silhouettes are touched with buff highlights, giving them shape and suggesting feathers, fur, and a fawn's spots. In many of the pictures, the image of a clock can be seen with its hands pointing to the late-night/early-morning hours to further suggest the lateness of the day. Often superimposed on tree trunks, the clock takes on many forms--a duck's home, a birdhouse, a shed, and so on--to better blend into the scenery of the night. The poem centers on a rural family of unknown ethnicity with chickens, sheep, and farming equipment, but urban and suburban children will respond to the story as well based on the easy flow of the rhyme, the titular line acting as a refrain. "A calf in the barn. A sheep in her stall. / A colt casts a shadow on the weathered wall. // A hen warms her eggs. Rooster waits for first light. / And all is quiet at the stroke of goodnight." The story should also find a place of honor in pajama storytimes in schools, preschools, and libraries. Simply sublime. (Picture book. 2-6)"
- Kirkus Reviews
"PreS-Gr 1- Darkness is falling around the world as animals and humans alike prepare for sleep. From dogs and cats to birds and mice, many creatures prepare for the stroke of goodnight. Quiet descends in the barn, deer rustle in the leaves, and a human mother and her baby coo to each other as the lights are dimmed. A sense of calm envelopes readers as they turn these pages: the backlit, cut-paper silhouettes coupled with the smoothly flowing lyrical and rhyming text behave like a spoken lullaby. The beginning of the book is a loving homage to Goodnight Moon, with one page in particular standing out in its similarity. The latter part of the book diverts from the initial theme as the story changes focus from animals to humans, circling back to its roots on the final page. Each page is dominated by a striking and memorable image, full of small and delicate details. VERDICT Ideally suited to bedtime readings, this rhyming story is a delightful addition to bedtime reading for fans of older style literature brought into a modern light."
- Mary Lanni, formerly of Denver Public Library