Goodnight My Sweet Island

by | Jun 13, 2024 | Book Review, Picture Book, Poetry

Good night my sweet island cover

Book Details

Goodnight My Sweet Island
Petrea Honychurch Seaman, illus. Susanne Heitz. London: Papillote Press, pb, 978 1 83604 159 5, 2023, £7.99, 32pp.
Picture book, rhyming text, 0-4 years

Imagine you are on one of those Caribbean islands; Dominica, Guadalupe, St Lucia perhaps. 

The sun is going down, it is time for bed and a lullaby; a lullaby that that will fill the mind with the memory of the landscape, the plants, the animals that are part of this world. A lullaby that will sing with Kwéyòl, the language spoken across these island.

Susanne Heitz’ colour saturated images recreate the colours of the landscape, moving from lush forested mountains to a brilliant blue sea teaming with marine wildlife. Running through the images, we see the children, their joy and freedom palpable, inviting us to step into this world. The images are then the immersive backdrop to the words. Here is a true lullaby.

Peter’s Seaman’s gentle rhyming and rhythmic text with is its repeated Goodnight, Goodnight – Bonswè, Bonswè is the perfect foil. Here, we meet animals and birds that will be recognisable. The trees with their Kwéyòl names grounding us in a distinct, real part of the earth. We hear and see, as words and image dance together, the sound of instruments such as the lapo kabwit and the beat of dances such as the bouton and cadence-lypso.

The design itself is excellent, enticing the reader to open the covers, then savour each double page spread full of colour and movement, while the text is instantly accessible through its well-chosen font and placement. This is a joyful recreation of and introduction to the world of these Caribbean islands presented with warmth and love. Recommended as a book to share whether as a family or a class and should find a place on any library shelf, whether school or public.


Review by FHM