Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 01 Apr 2024

It’s Time To Hush and Say Goodnight by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat

I was keen to explore this latest picture book by Chitra Soundar with a back cover that describes it as a ‘lush Indian-inspired lullaby to soothe your little one to sleep’. This is quite a promise because there is so much to look at and enjoy but I think that it will be a very pleasurable, calming shared experience.

The front and back covers are busy with colourful images and dominated by a child hugging his/ her bearded dad with fierce enthusiasm. The front end papers continue the theme with a profusion of gorgeous birds, butterflies and other creatures racing across from left to right, this time using a restricted palette of blue and deep pink.

As the story unfolds, we see how Dad encourages his child to travel with these creatures in his imagination. I loved every turn of the page as together they explore caves, waterfalls, oceans and meet swarming bees, stormy seas and even monsters along the way. Despite all these threats, the over all message is one of tender reassurance as Dad shows the child that he will help and protect him on the eventful journey. 

The splendid illustrations suffuse every page and work in perfect harmony with the carefully chosen, poetic words of the lullaby:

‘Ink this night with tendrils blue,

I’ll shush the whistling caves for you.

I lull the sways of winds that leap, to rock you until shadows sweep’.  

The action slows down with Dad quietly pointing out the stars and the moon as the child snuggles into his arms:

‘Sail that moon across the sky, let your hopes take wings and fly.

I steal the glow of rubies red, 

I spin the dusk with crimson thread’.

The colours become softer and darker towards at the end of the book with the creatures turning away from the pair and streaming off to the left of the page as the sleeping child is placed into his bed. Hopefully the magic will also work with the child who is lucky enough to read this book. 

I strongly recommend this beautiful book which will be treasured by young children and their parents as a bedtime favourite,   

Published by Walker Books, you will be able to buy this book from your local independent bookshop – who will be happy to order it from you if they don’t have it on their shelves.

Karen Argent

April 2024