My favorite kind of books are picture books. I could spend hours in the children’s department of a bookstore, leafing through the pages of the gorgeous illustrations and uncomplicated verse. It won’t matter if my kids eventually outgrow these books, as I keep them on my own bookshelf just to peruse when I have a moment to dream and wonder. After all, isn’t that what a good book is supposed to do: allow you to enter a new world and escape reality for the time being? It doesn’t matter if that place is familiar or foreign, but rather that the journey of getting there transcends the present. For me, my latest excursion-through-books took me back to a time when I could remember what it was like to be a young girl, one whose bosom buddy was none other than a cat. In Hannah’s Night by Komako Sakai, this endearing pair finds out what it’s like to have their home all to themselves after awakening during the wee hours before sunrise. Delighting in the simple, the girl and her stealth-like companion carefully sneak through the house while the rest of the world slumbers on. Playing in bed with her sister’s toys, as her sibling sleeps on none thee wiser, enables a power the little girl could never have experienced in the light of day. So too does sharing a snack of stolen cherries from the fridge, while her feline friend sips from a bowl of milk. The effect of relishing such simple joys is pure magic, one I can now recall in adult 20/20 hindsight. Beautiful illustrations of uneven watercolor brush strokes are worth treasuring, as is this memorable story. Hannah’s Night will remind readers that childhood may be fleeting, but memories can last a lifetime.
In a Nutshell: Gorgeous illustrations complement a simple bedtime story that is worth reading again and again, no matter how old you are.