A Fun Imaginative Tale for Little Ones: At Night by Helga Bansch

I'm such a fan of children's books that are a bit out of the ordinary. At Night is definitely one of those books, and I do mean that in a good way.

A whimsical and soothing bedtime story. At night, all the animals return to their homes to sleep. Birds dream in their nests, polar bears snore inside their ice caves, and children snuggle under the covers of their beds. Everything is in order. Unless, of course, it isn’t. Sometimes the world — or the book — gets turned upside down. And then things aren’t quite as simple. With its sweet, winsome illustrations, this book is perfect for sharing with children as they drift off into their own imaginative dreams.

Helga Bansch has been a freelance illustrator since 2003. Since then she has published over forty children’s books and received dozens of prizes and awards, including the City of Vienna’s Children’s Book Prize for three consecutive years. She lives in Austria.

Each page in the story shows an animal getting reading to snuggle up for bed in their respective place. "At night" the bat hags from a cave roof, the bird sleeps in her nest, and the dog in his doghouse. About halfway through the book, the world becomes a little silly and everything gets turned upside down, literally.

You see the book, actually includes two stories, the one mentioned above and one that is very similar, only with a slightly different take on things. The alternative story is actually upside down and you have to flip the book over to read it. In the second story, "sometimes at night" the rabbit hangs from a cave roof, instead. The bird might want to lie in the grass and a polar bear in the doghouse. The two stories show comparable tales on how creatures like to fall asleep, only one depicts a more realistic view while the other is more of an amusing representation.

The illustrations are colorful and fun. They actually have a unique appeal that children will enjoy. My son really gets a kick out of the alternative version of the story where things get turned around. After all, a rabbit sleeping upside down on the roof of a cave is pretty amusing. He always laughs when we get to that page. Throughout the book there was only one illustration that seemed a bit bizarre to me–there was an eerie looking doll on the page. I'm sure it was meant well and it didn't really faze my own little one, so that's a good thing.

At Night is a distinctive story with an enigmatic feel that is enjoyable, and definitely a recommended reading experience for the little ones.