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Suzanne Slade | The Universe and You

While “you” sleep, the Earth spins and travels through space.

After a wordless spread showing the Earth in deep space, the story cuts to a brown-skinned child with puffy hair in bed hugging a stuffed astronaut toy. The bedroom is decorated in a planetary theme, and a caregiver smiles over the child as “Daylight dims. / Darkness tiptoes in. / You’re tucked in tight / for a warm, cozy night.” The next spread shows the house from the outside, with the starry night behind it, and the text zooms out as well, to the spinning of the Earth. As the pages turn, the Earth circles our sun, our sun swirls around the Milky Way, and the universe expands. Throughout these spreads, the universe is related to the child with reminders that all of this activity happens “while you still sleep, / dreaming even bigger dreams.” Finally, the sun peeks above the horizon, warming the Earth’s creatures, and “you” stir and rise, ready to play. Nicely textured, layered illustrations give an almost 3-D feel to the Earth floating in deep space. The text is composed of succinct verse that, from the beginning, effortlessly conveys the magical bedtime tone, though it ends on a relatively active note. Cozy, thought-provoking, and hypnotizing, this poetic pleaser will pair well with other soothing bedtime books but can also be read and discussed during an active time of day.