Family Life | Poetry | Reviews

Saying goodnight with love and imagination

Review of Night Wishes by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

Before his death in 2019, Lee Bennett Hopkins, renowned children’s poet, anthologist, and author of more than one hundred books, compiled this selection of gentle, imaginative goodnight poems by 13 poets. A child’s bed, pillow, blanket, rocking horse, book, and more are celebrated. Creatures like dogs are appreciated. Dreams are anticipated. Guardian angels are welcomed. The moon and stars bring joy.

Poems include contributions like Clock. Humorous, yet wistful, author Prince Redcloud anticipates how quickly children grow up: “Tock tock / broken clock. / My tick is gone. / Tock tock. / No need to fix me. / There is time / to put / my tick / back in. / Maybe tomorrow. / I can wait. / So can you. / It takes a lot of / tick-tock / tick-tock / tick-tock . . . / to grow.”

Hopkins’s contribution entitled Teddy Bear shares the thoughts of a much-loved stuffed animal and subtly shows how children need to feel loved and safe when falling asleep: “I have been / kissed, hugged / tossed, thrown / my clothes / are tattered, / there are / knots in / my fur . . . / but / I don’t care. / I’m here for you / to snuggle into / as you / squeeze me tight / until / tomorrow’s / morning / light.”

Though recommended for children ages four to eight, this poetry collection, complemented by illustrator Jen Corace’s vivacious, bright artwork, will also be appreciated by a much younger audience.

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