Lisa Doucet Reviews Kate Inglis' A Great Big Night

Lisa Doucet Reviews Kate Inglis' A Great Big Night

A Great Big Night
(Ages 4-8)
Kate Inglis, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon 
Nimbus Publishing

Clickity-clackity-clickity-clack. The woodland denizens of the great green forest know exactly what this sound means: the music train has arrived, with its marvellous melange of music-making instruments! 

Three tidy-faced and bicycle-riding frogs make up this travelling band and they waste no time in putting their tin whistles and mandolin, their bodhran and matchbox bass, their tom-tom drum and hundred-year-old golden guitar to work, to the tremendous delight of all the animals. 

All except Grouse, who scoffs at the “foolish racket” being made by the “lollygaggers, time-wasters.”

When a terrible storm rolls through the forest, it brings the festivities to an abrupt end and sends everyone in search of shelter. Alas, it also destroys Grouse’s home. 
To Grouse’s chagrin, the three tidy-faced frogs pull out their instruments once again. This time, they play a lively tune to call all the forest friends together to help build Grouse a new home while “the happy beat of busy-time songs filled the air.” Maybe, just maybe, there is more to this ruckus than Grouse originally thought.

In this joyful, exuberant romp, Kate Inglis delights young readers with a timeless tale that highlights the power of music to not only brighten our lives but to also bring people (and animals) together when times are tough. Inglis deftly revels in the musicality of her words, creating a jaunty, playful story that begs to be read aloud. 

The brightly-coloured, vibrant illustrations from widely acclaimed illustrator Josée Bisaillon bring these spirited antics to life. Layered and richly-textured with subtle sketches of leaves and flowers scattered throughout, they are bursting with energy and filled with whimsy and captivating detail. 

A charming celebration of community and collaboration, this book has a valuable message to share as it enchants little listeners and readers.

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young-adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.

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