During the night while everyone sleeps, a little boy floats up from his bed and flies through the house and the countryside beyond.
"At night David can fly. In the daytime he can't. In the daytime he doesn't even remember that he can. But at night, after his mother has put him to bed, he wakes up, sometimes.... It isn't flying exactly, but floating--he floats in the air." As he hovers over his parents, he can see their dreams, round and yellow, just over their heads. He can faintly see his dog Reddy's furry dream, too, before floating outside. In the moonlight, he can see mice dancing, how the vegetable garden looks in black and white, and a flock of sleeping sheep: "All of them except one are dreaming they're eating; that one is dreaming he's asleep." Throughout Randall Jarrell's dreamy, evocative prose poem we follow David in his nocturnal drifting. We hear the tender bedtime story of an owl to its owlets, until the owl--with "two big silent strokes of its wings sails away"--flies with the boy back to his house. There, he goes to sleep and wakes up to his loving mother, remembering nothing. Maurice Sendak's illustrations, which are never intrusive, capture the quiet moodiness of this piece--the final collaboration of Jarrell and Sendak before Jarrell's death in 1965. A starred review in School Library Journal says, "Jarrell writes with simple force and grace about the essential loneliness of life, but above all he is writing about love--family love, especially, which is shown to be strong and constant." (All ages) --Karin Snelson