Picture Book (see page count)
Ages 8 and up
By Michèle Lemieux
Kids Can Press
The first time I read Stormy Night I was stunned. This was exactly the kind of book I wish I’d seen when I was a child, but one I still very much needed to see as an adult. The ideas raised and questions asked can sometimes be unnerving but the whimsical art is comforting and the overall tone is uplifting and encouraging. Profoundly addressing questions of self and the world around us, this book is a necessary reminder that we are never alone.
Stormy Night is not a typical picture book in format or content. It’s two hundred and forty pages long and 5.75 by 8.5 inches, an unconventional trim size. The text is sparse and largely philosophical, interspersing unanswerable questions with expressions of delight, despair, confusion and curiosity.
Beautifully rendered in black and white, the art perfectly complements the text in mood and tone. Some illustrations are full spreads, saturating the reader’s feelings. Other illustrations convey the enormity of life with only a small, understated line drawing.
The book opens with a storm brewing outside; inside a young girl is getting ready for bed. Her dog is by her side. The first text appears several pages in:
“I can’t sleep! Too many questions are buzzing through my head.”
The young girl, lying awake in her bed, ponders questions of science, of self and of life.
“Where do we come from?”
“Who am I?”
“Sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in my body!”
She expresses feelings of joy, sadness, anger and uncertainty.
“I’d like to be able to do things no one else can do…”
“What exactly is fate?”
At the closing of this book our young thinker, finally able to sleep, curls up with her dog and a new and beautiful day dawns outside.
This perfect little package of a book is an absolute treasure and a must have for every library. It offers comfort to children, and reassurance to adults, that we are not alone—that the questions and feelings swirling around in our heads are normal, natural and universal.