This week I have Night Noises, by Mem Fox, illustrated by Terry Denton, in my library bag. It was published by Omnibus Books in 1989. It has also been republished by Penguin. Lovely to see that its enduring quality has been recognised.
The book is about Lillie Laceby, an elderly lady whose "bones were as creaky as floorboards at midnight" who lives alone in a country cottage with her dog, Butch Aggie. NIght Noises is a beautiful combination of many things - the tension around strange noises in the night, images of a warm and cosy cottage, visual portrayals of Lillie's dreams of her life, with an ending both surprising and satisfying. Mem Fox's text is simple but full of both action and imagery. Terry Denton's illustrations have just the right balance of humour, comfort, anticipation and warmth. Many aspects of the story are conveyed only through images, so there is lots for children to think and talk about as they read the book. For this reason it is an ideal book for families and educators to share with children from about 4 to 7 years. Themes and messages about life span, families, dreams, feelings, birthdays, pets, different ways of living are all part of this rich and engaging book. See if you can find it in your library.