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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
It might be dark at night, but it’s actually very alive with life and an orchestra of nightly sounds. Nighttime is when the night critters come out to play: the crabs, armadillos, frogs, owls, hedgehogs, and porcupines, and even bugs galore. There are so many night critters that only feel safe in the dark of night, underneath the moonlit sky. Why? Because that’s when they can scavenge for food and even play and chatter amongst themselves without worrying about the daytime predators who would quickly make a meal out of them. Nighttime is a magical time until the lions roar and the sun starts to rise again in the morning, signaling to the nighttime critters that it’s time to hide and sleep.
Esseboe Kwami Nyamidie’s picture book story, Night Critters Play, is a charming, poetic look at that magical time when the world goes dark. Told in rhyming verse, the words flow lyrically like music. The author uses creative and colorful fonts to highlight certain words, helping young readers expand their reading vocabulary. The illustrations by Pamela B. Christiansen are spectacular and just as magical as the poetic story itself. The author leads the young reader through a moonlit scene full of critters, chattering and playing amongst themselves as they scavenge for food. In some ways, this story is a memoir, looking back on the author’s own childhood as he explored the family’s cocoa plantation in the daytime as well as at night. The story is soothing, engaging, lyrical, and entertaining, as well as educational. A real treasure to cherish and enjoy multiple times over.