Good night, Ivy Bright by Ben Long and Andrew Plant

cover image

Ivy cannot sleep. She has tried counting sheep, but her mind is still active and buzzing. She decides that she will paint her dreams, and finding her favourite paintbrushes, begins. She paints the sky the loveliest blue, picking out the stars in yellow; she paints a mammoth whale purple, but finds that when she must complete his tail, her purple paint has all gone. So she sets out to find some more purple, roaming all over the place to find the correct combination of colours. She spots an island where she splashes some white; she mixes in some red to show her the way back home, mixes blue and yellow to make green, and red and white to make pink, then puts red and green to make a silky brown, causing a moose to grow his antlers, before the spring. Then red is mixed with yellow to make orange and as the snow melts away to herald spring, lots of flowers appear, but no purple ones can be seen. The moose tells Ivy to eat the red and blue berries from his antlers, and she discovers that these two colours make purple. She follows her trail of pink back to the whale where she is able to complete his tail.

A beautiful, imaginative, colour filled look at sleep and dreams, the story will help younger readers settle down for the night, using the colours they see in their dreams as a pathway to sleep. Each of the colours of the rainbow is used, and with the bright splashes of colour on each page, will help younger children understand the concept of colour and its use in their environment. Lots of places, flora and fauna are mentioned, adding another layer of interest and excitement to the read. Plant’s use of acrylic and watercolour pencil is mesmerising as colour fills each page, wrapping the reader in its warmth. Children will love following the actions of Ivy in her lemur pyjamas, working to find the correct combination of colour to finish her whale.

Themes: Imagination, Sleep, Dreams, Colour.

Fran Knight