I have long been a fan of the superb artwork of Wendell Minor, and Daylight Starlight Wildlife is yet another winner in his long list of children's publishing accomplishments. It's a simple book, suitable for young preschoolers, yet full of understated depth in both prose and illustrations.
Minor explains and contrasts the variety of wildlife that surrounds us night and day, painting spectacularly luminous images such as a red-tailed hawk soaring over the treetops and a barn owl swooping through a full-moon night. These images are realistic, yet appealing―without ever being anthropomorphic or overly cute―containing scenes of mothers and their young and solitary animals making their way through the wilderness. A raccoon leads her cubs through swaying stalks of grass. An opossum forages as her family clings to her back, the bristling hairs of their fur begging to be touched.
Unlike some creators of this genre, Minor never talks down to his audience. Each page contains one stately sentence, for instance: “As the sun rises, stealthy bobcat and her kitten scope out the summer landscape.” As an informative nature guide, he also adds a short section of fun facts at the end.
At both its beginning and conclusion, Daylight Starlight Wildlife asks readers to consider the wild visitors that may lurk outside. “Look and listen,” the artist urges. Whether they’re searching for wild turkeys, swallowtail butterflies, luna moths, skunks or flying squirrels, young readers will be ready to do just that.