The Night Box

The Night Box
Louise Greig and Ashling Lindsay
Egmont Publishing
With his own special key, young Max is custodian of the night and having watched the sleepy day departing and bid his mother goodnight, he approaches The Night Box. It’s right there among his toys waiting for him to turn the key, lift the lid and let day slip inside. In its place comes darkness, tumbling, dancing and whirling around his room. It’s full of mischief as it chases all the colours out from every corner and away.

Then for a time all that’s left is the sounds: a plink, a tap, a tinkle and a purr, each one exaggerated by the darkness. After which Max becomes aware of the enormity of the night and all it holds.

Night is many things: the keeper of the stars that guide a lone swan to her home; the gentle protection of the sleeping fawn beside its mother; the caller out to play of the woodland creatures: badger, mole, owl and fox. It’s also the bestower of gifts: a moon to the pond, a mole to a goose; a fox to the rose; milk to the kitten; for the branch there’s an owl; for the wall a tree and for Max, a cosy bed and a bear to snuggle by.
Benevolent night remains but that too needs rest, so once it’s fast asleep it’s time for Max to wake, open the box once more and allow another exchange to happen …

What a beautiful evocation of the coming of night, its magical effects and its dawn departure, poet and debut picture book author Louise Greig and illustrator Ashling Lindsay have together created. Text and pictures work in perfect harmony. That Louise is a poet is clear from the way she weaves words together, creating cadences that are a delight to read aloud at any time; but as a bedtime story, have a gently soporific lilt. The unusual and shifting perspectives of Ashling Lindsay add to the allure of her scenes.

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