I realised when sharing this book on Instagram for a #picturebookchallenge, that I never got around to officially reviewing Hannah’s Night on the blog- even though it is one of our family’s most treasured picture books.
Devastated and disappointed in myself, I set to rectifying the error of my ways…and thus, here you have my first book review in 7 months.
Hannah’s Night was originally published in Japan in 2012 and this English language edition was published by Gecko Press in 2013. I suspect there are many reasons that this book tugs at my heart strings, with my soft spot for Japan possibly playing a part.
On first glance, it is easy to fall in love with the rich, textured illustrations in warm blues and gentle pastels. Komako Sakai’s use of acrylic layers makes you feel as though you are secretly observing Hannah through a sheer veil- effectively portraying a moonlit setting.
Yes, the illustrations are truly exquisite but the story is also cleverly simple, tender and universal. Hannah, an adorable and familiar toddler, wakes in the night to find her family still sleeping. Hannah soon discovers she can raid the fridge and play with her sister’s doll, music box and pencils without being reprimanded.
I once told Cammy that as a child, planning a midnight feast was one of my favourite things to do when sleeping over at my friend’s house. She has been fascinated by these midnight escapades ever since, but as a first-born child she didn’t quite have the courage to plan one for herself. As such, Cammy quite enjoys reading about the nerve of Hannah to explore the fridge and her sister’s belongings without permission in the middle of the night.
As a first-born myself, I empathise with Hannah’s older sister and her need to protect her belongings. But Ike has taught me to sympathise with the plight of little brothers and sisters, in which they must obey the rules of their big sibling or endure the wrath if they dare break them. For little brothers and sisters it is only in the secrecy of the night that one could get away with such antics as Hannah’s…and her quiet giggles clearly demonstrate that such freedom brings pure and innocent joy for little siblings.
And at the end of the night, Komako Sakai leaves us with an image of Hannah snuggled and fast asleep on the edge of her big sister’s bed- a true symbol of the very special and close, if not complicated, relationship that exists between siblings.
Hannah’s Night is beautiful in every way, and a treasure for every family member to enjoy.
Title: Hannah’s Night
Author/Illustrator: Komako Sakai
Publisher: Gecko Press, 2013
BOOK AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE VIA THE KIDS’ BOOKSHOP