Format: Picture book
Age: 3-6 years
Author: Katy Rydell
Illustrator: David Jorgensen
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (published March 1994)
Fair warning: this book appears to be out of print. This is a travesty, because Wind Says Goodnight is among the loveliest, gentlest stories I have found to read at bedtime. I discovered the book was out of print when I tried to bulk-order a bunch of copies to give to pretty much everyone I know who has either a kid or a sleep disorder. Currently topping my to-do list is “Email HMH Books for Young Readers to demand they do a reprint of WSG.” If that doesn’t work, I may start an online petition, or a picket, or perhaps a campaign of veiled threats of violence. Which would sort of go against the spirit of this soothing, lyrical lullaby-in-a-book.
Wind Says Goodnight tells the tale of a child who can’t fall asleep because Mockingbird is singing outside, on the branch of a tree. The night wind asks Mockingbird to stop singing, but Mockingbird can’t stop singing until Cricket stops playing, and Cricket can’t stop playing until Frog stops strumming, and Frog can’t stop strumming until Moth stops dancing…well, you get the idea. What really stands out in this story, along with the graceful, repetitive storyline, is the vibrantly descriptive language. When at last the night wind scoops up Cloud to cover the earth so Moon will stop shining so Moth will stop dancing, the gentle rain “began to fall, tumbling down through the dark, splashing on the flat bay waters, skipping on the warm green earth.” Author Katy Rydell’s lyrical prose brings the scents of the damp earth and the sounds of the creatures’ music to life, and the story’s sweet, cadenced rhythm work together with Jorgensen’s distinctive pencil crayon illustrations to put this book squarely in my favourite category: Xanax for Children, or books that will bring down even the most hyper toddler or preschooler and put him or her into a sleepin’ state of mind. Never have I read through the book without finishing in a low, near-reverent whisper.
So cruise your used bookstores, watch on eBay, check out the used books on Amazon and AbeBooks, or send bomb threats to the publisher, but one way or another, find yourself a copy of Wind Says Goodnight. Your bedtime routine will thank you.