Book Summary: Tillman celebrates a newborn’s unique contributions to the world from the magical sound of a name to “wiggly, wonderful toes.” Across the earth, animals and nature join in the celebration; polar bears dance, the wind whispers, and even the moon stays up extra late. APA Reference: Tillman, N. (2005) On the night you were born. New York, NY: Feiwel and Friends.
Impressions: The lilting, lyrical quality of this book recreates the comforting, rocking motion of a lullabye and leaves the adult reader with the desire to curl up in a rocking chair with an infant in his or her arms. Much like a lullaby, the images and words combine to create a peaceful sense of night with dreamlike illustrations that incorporate music notes symbolic of the night wind. The pages where text is limited to a phrase or short sentence such as, “Over the ocean….” “And through the trees…” invite very young children to explore the accompanying illustrations focusing on one idea at a time. Towards the end of the book beginning with “So whenever you doubt…” children may become restless waiting for a page turn as the text lengthens. Because of the sentimentality, abstract quality to the illustrations, and lengthy poetic pages, adults might favor this book over their young children. It will, no doubt, still help to create the bond between parent and child during a shared reading time.
Professional Review: From School Library Journal (2007), “The dark blue night skies make a beautiful and dramatic setting for this special night. The painterly art and poetic quality of the text make this an attractive book. Parents and grandparents are most likely to appreciate it, but they will undoubtedly want to share it with a child.” Janssen, C. (2007). On the night you were born (Review of the book On the night you were born). School Library Journal, 53(3), 186-187.
This picture book would make an excellent mentor text for students to imitate poetry, particularly rhyming couplets. By following the basic form of the text as a poem, students could create a “On the Night I was Born” book to introduce themselves through unique facts about their own birthdays. Integrate research by having students find events that took place on the day they were born throughout history.