By Anika Denise

The best bedtime books are gentle, endearing, and relatable. There’s a lullaby quality to the words and pictures that make them just right for sending little pajama-clad sleepy heads off to slumber, peaceful and content.

quietbooksmallThe Quiet Book, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska, has a subtlety and charm that will very likely earn it a place on your child’s bookshelf alongside Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny.

With a cast of animals that includes a rabbit, bear, owl, moose, wombat, and porcupine, the book explores all the different “quiets” that can fill a day. From “First one awake quiet” to “Coloring in the lines quiet” to “Pretending you’re invisible quiet” to “Car ride at night quiet,” this gentle picture book captures the heart and sensibility of a child with perfect pitch.

Ms. Liwska’s muted, matte-colored pencil drawings–on pages that alternate from full bleeds to spots with plenty of white space–are utterly captivating and complement the lulling repetition of the text beautifully. Even the smaller trim size of the book feels just right for little laps and bedtime rituals.

Like any great bedtime book, this one is sure to garner calls for repeat reading from children who see something of themselves in the adorably rounded, wide-eyed furry creatures. Each spread tells a different story and kids will delight in the many small details of Ms. Liwska’s lovely illustrations.

All in all, I’d say The Quiet Book is a must have–and my favorite picture book find of 2010 (so far)!

Anika Denise is the author of “Pigs Love Potatoes” and the forthcoming “Bella And Stella Come Home.”  She lives in Barrington, RI, with her husband, Christopher — a children’s book illustrator — and their two daughters, ages 8 and 5.  Anika is also the host of Thursday morning story hours at Barrington Books. You can read more of her children’s book reviews and story hour suggestions at www.bookmarks-ri.blogspot.com and at www.anikadenise.blogspot.com. For information on her books, visit www.anikadenise.com.