Book Cover

Whenever night falls in the Black Mushroom Forest, all the baby animals cry out and
cower in fear. One day, an elephant arrives at the forest. Awu “[isn’t] a
typical elephant” or, indeed, a typical forest creature. Unlike the other
animals, Awu looks forward to the nighttime, when he can “open his mouth big
and wide and swallow the dark nights.” Seeking a way to allay the children’s
fears, Bear Cub’s mother enlists Awu’s help. One by one, Awu visits the
children of the forest and eats away the dark. Sun shining, “they danced and
cheered”—but quickly realize the trouble when it is “always bright as day.” With
yawns and exhaustion comes an appreciation for balance and an understanding of
the promise of a new day. Bold typographic design sets dialogue and
onomatopoeic words apart on the page from the main narrative. Occasionally, the
text design mimics the text—a sentence curls in on itself just like “Baby
Porcupine [who] would cling to his mother’s side and shrink into a little
ball.” Recurring swirls and curves visually draw readers’ eyes, and details
such as constellationlike diagrams peppered throughout Li’s artwork add to the
whimsy of Bai’s bedtime story.

You Might Also Like