Author: Jane Yolen
Illustrator: Anne Hunter
Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company
Word Count: 128 (est.)
Top 10 Element: Rhyme
I am participating in Picture Books 14:14, a challenge created by Christie of Write Wild that encourages bloggers to review 14 picture books in 14 days, starting on Feb. 14th. I am also including this post for Poetry Friday, which this week is being hosted by Linda at Teacher Dance.
I was so happy to see yesterday the "rule change" allowing us to share one somewhat older picture book, as I had had my heart set on sharing this one for rhyme. Nocturne is a simply magical book and one destined to stay a classic.
Analysis: RhymeI am generally not a fan of rhyming picture books. There are so many out there that are sing-songly, annoying, and have to really ram words together in odd ways to make an attempt at getting the meaning across. Nocturne is not that book.
The book jacket's description of the story as a lullaby is spot on. This story is much more of a rhythm and a feeling than it is a typical poem like a couplet or a quatrain. Listen to the opening lines:
In the night,
in the velvet night,
in the brushstroked bluecoat velvet night,
Isn't that gorgeous? This opening format begins each of the four sentences that comprise the entire story. For the second one, the third line becomes "in the quiltdown quietdown velvet night" followed by "moths flutter up, flutter down / like wind-up toys, without the noise."
Read it out loud to yourself. Feel the way your mouth and lips move and how that motion repeats due to the repetition (flutter up, flutter down) and internal rhyme (toys/noise).
Every time I read this book aloud to children, it is amazing how fast everyone becomes quiet. No matter the external situations, this is a book that inspires wonder for the power of its words and rhyme.
The last stanza in the book is by far my favorite, but I won't ruin it here. Read it for yourself (preferably out loud). You won't be disappointed.
Want more picture book analyses? Click here to read my other posts for Picture Books 14:14 or check out these other great posts for the Picture Book 14:14 Challenge going on the rest of this month.