Stories of the Night [Storie della Notte]

The English edition of Storie della Notte [Petites Histoires de la Nuit] by Belgian author and illustrator Kitty Crawther will finally be out in September, published by Gecko Press.
Most of her books are oddly not available in English, only a very few from the series Poka & Mia have been translated, and are rarely seen around in bookstores.
Annie du lacMoi et RienMere meduseLe petit home et Dieu are small masterpieces talking about big themes with an absolutely unique visual language and from an unusual perspective which deserve to be known.
Crowther was awarded the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2010, one of the most prestigious prizes in children's literature (and by far the richest) and Stories of the Night [2017] has received the 2018 Born to Read Award as best book for the age group 18-36 months in Italy.

It is in fact a perfect bedtime book for young readers:
It's little,
very pink,
it features a young bear and his mama bear on the cover
it tells three (slightly odd) stories, that we assume mama bear has told her little one multiple times.
Just the right number for bedtime, without even needing to change book.
It's bedtime for little bear. He asks mama bear for three stories - 'Please, please please...I said please three times!'- expect to hear that again from your toddlers.
the story about the night keeper who says that it's time for sleep,
the story about the girl with the sword who gets lost in the wood,
and the story about the man wearing a coat who lost his sleep.
In all of them the main character finally enters a deep, calm, restorative sleep, joining little Bear at the end.

The strength of the book sits in its imagery.
The three 'stories  in the story' sound like nordic folk tales, with their unusual, slightly grotesque characters, the dream-like settings and that hint of mystery and magic. given by the unusual colour palette and by the quirky illustrations.
Crowther's style is dark and sweet at the same time, which is why her surreal narration can work at bedtime.
Little bear is finally pictured fast asleep in his bed with them, a little girl, an elderly woman and a bearded man. It does seem odd, but it's actually a very peaceful illustration, full of tenderness.
There is no danger, and no real suspence, no obstacle to sleep ex. These are totally reassuring stories for younger readers.
The pink night light reminds us of the never ending days up north. It permeates everything, finally flooding into little bear's room as he falls into a deep sleep.
Storie della Notte [2017]
Stories of the Night [2018] available for pre-order here.
by Kitty Crowther
Italian edition by Topipittori
English edition by Gecko Press
Reading age: 18 months+
Themes: Bedtime, Fantasy

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