31 Days: Hush, Little Baby, again!

Quite a while ago, I wrote about my love of Marla Frazee’s illustrations for the classic lullaby Hush, Little Baby. While that version is definitely still a favorite at this house, I’ve discovered another version to love.

Brian Pinkney's Hush Little Baby

Brian Pinkney‘s illustrations draw from a different time period, and alter the storyline just a bit. In his note at the end of the text, Pinkney notes that he’s selected a setting in the early 20th century. Here, instead of a mother or family trying to get a baby to sleep, the song imagines a father and older siblings trying to help their baby go to sleep while mama is away. Pinkney has made a few changes to the lyrics (a fire truck is involved), which serves to advance his retelling in a humorous way.

The illustrations are almost musical themselves. With swirling lines and figures that flow from one page to the next, Pinkney has captured the spirit of the song. Additionally, the family in the book is African-American, providing an excellent counterpoint to the more traditional adaptations of the lullaby. We found this on the shelf at our library, and I’d like to think it would be easy to find at yours, too.  While the song is typically used with smaller children, I think that older ones would enjoy the humor found in trying to help the baby by whatever method necessary.

To be honest, I’m beginning to want a collection of illustrated versions of this song. I’d love to hear about your favorites!

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