As a little boy gets ready for bed, the sounds of a wild storm echo around him, lulling him to sleep. From the crash of thunder to the pitter-patter of raindrops to the beat of passing cars, the music of the city creates a cozy bedtime soundtrack."
My Two Cents:
Nighttime Symphony is more than another sweet, lyrical bedtime story, it is an ode to fatherhood.
Written by Grammy award-winning musician Timbaland, the musical cadence and rhyme of Nighttime Symphony is spoken as sweet sentiment by a father explaining the rumblings of a city storm as be helps his son to bed. By comparing the weather's sounds to melodious expressions, the narrator father helps his young son to not only squelch his fear, but to embrace the wonders of the city sounds.
That being said, Nighttime Symphony still works best as a lovely bedtime story. Rhyme schemes are not conducive for explicit ELA instruction and classroom applications are minimal. Some comparisons are possible discussion points, but the book is meant to be more artistic than instructive. Library purchase for diversity and read-alouds recommended.
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, division of Simon & Schuster Kids
Date: May 2019
Acquired: Personal Copy
Themes: Fear and Beauty of Sounds/Storms, Fatherly Love
Characters: The characters seem a bit inconsequential to the telling, with the father doing all the telling and the boy doing all the listening.
Plot: Poetic rendering of boy getting more comfortable with storm sounds due to father's explanations
Originality: Anchored in urban space, colorful illustrations, sweet comparisons of sounds to music
Diversity: Black father/son positive representation, City setting & sounds
Timbaland is a Grammy Award–winning musician. He has collaborated with many well-known musicians (Justin Timberlake, Madonna, One Republic, Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, etc.). He is also the producer for the TV series Empire.
Nighttime Symphony is his first book for children.
Illustrations by Christopher Myers, an award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books. He won a Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in the book Harlem, and has received three Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards. Myers has also illustrated books written by his award-winning author father, Walter Dean Myers.
Watch this great video interview from Reading Rockets with Chris Myers regarding black representation and imagery in media:
Illustrations also Kaa Illustration Studio, comprised of illustrators Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien, and based in Ho Chi Minh City Their stunning, vibrant illustrations are inspired by the folk culture of Vietnam and Asia. You can see more about them HERE.
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© 2007-2019 Dr. Cheryl Vanatti, education & reading specialist writing at www.ReadingRumpus.com