Why We Have Day and Night

Why We Have Day and Night

by Peter F. Neumeyer, Edward Gorey


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In this curious tale, four children, accompanied by their faithful cat, stumble around in the dark and ask, “What’s going on when the lights go out?” A lot of imagination and a little bit of science (cue a flashlight and an orange) inspire a creative conclusion. To these young minds, why we have day and night is a big question that can only be answered by one (very hungry) little bug.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780884961741
Publisher: Capra Press
Publication date: 10/01/1982
Pages: 42

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Why We Have Day and Night 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Nako on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't want to know the person who doesn't like a book with Edward Gorey illustrations or at least I don't want to spend much time with them. As my 7-year-old daughter put it, this story is weird and awesome. That being said it is a very short story that will not take you long to read no matter how enchanted you are with the pictures. The $12.95 price is pretty steep for what it is.
HeatherHomeschooler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
We loved the imaginative ideas expressed in this book by Peter F. Neumeyer. The children in this book find themselves in the dark and question why it is dark. There are some creative ideas thrown around and then the older and wiser brother remembers a discussion he had with his father about how the world is like an orange and we are like a bug sitting on the surface. There is a little twist at the end to add to the humor. The illustrations by Edward Gorey add to a charming book. The book is written in an interesting font on good quality, strong paper that will hold up to multiple readings for years to come. My 3 year old loved it as much as my 11 year old did. This one is a keeper.
stults on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautiful, minimalist illustrations on jet black pages fit perfectly with the message of this book. The questions that open the book -- did the ink spill? did our eyes burst? -- drew my kids in and captured their attention. The simple explanation using a flashlight and orange is clever without talking down to chidren. A delightful and unique book.
yarb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Gorey's art elevates any book to keeper status, and though the text here is not especially ambitious, it's still a lot of fun.Great twist at the end where the rational explanation for night and day, illustrated by a bug on a revolving orange, is subverted when the bug eats his way into the permanently dark interior of the orange - avoiding what would have been a safe but dull ending.Lovely production, too, with the glossy fingerprintable pages and playful font.
paulkid on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book starts out with a handful of kids and their cat who suddenly find themselves in the dark. The kids propose a few explanations of how their predicament descended on them... some are more plausible and sensical (squirrel + wire = blackout, we're still asleep) than others (not born yet, turned into snails (?), we're underwater). Then, one of the children recounts how his father once told him the basics of night and day, how the sun doesn't really go down but rather the earth turns on its axis. For about four pages there's a clear demonstration of this phenomenon using a flashlight, a bug, and an orange (these four pages are the strength of the book). Then the book continues with the bug burrowing into the orange and everything becoming "all...all...".My son (age 4) and I enjoyed this book to some degree, but I don't think it will make the oft-reread pile at our house. The silly explanations of why it is dark are somewhat entertaining, but the book does not make clear that the earth spinning-on-it-axis explanation is actually "why we have day and night". Also, it seems to me that the dark has descended rapidly for the children in the story, and thus is not due to nightfall, rather, I think the squirrel/wire or perhaps a blown-fuse explanation is more likely.The risk of writing a children's book review is that you can take it too seriously. So please take my review with that caveat. One strong point of the book are that it is silly, and the explanations of darkness are humorous. The best part is the orange/flashlight part. But these two points of the book are at odds with eachother, so be sure to ask your kids why they think the children in the story are in the dark, and don't be surprised if they give you a reason other than presented in the book.
MindfulOne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a strange little story. The illustrations are charming, with minimalist use of color. I enjoyed it, but my preschooler was not riveted by it. However, it was a beautifully bound book that came with a nice bookmark -- really gift quality -- so I donated it to our school library.
gsmattingly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful text by Peter F. Neumeyer and fantastic illustrations with Edward Gorey.
mrsinger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My opinion of this book has evolved as I've reread and sat with it. Maybe that's high praise for a children's book, I'm not sure. At first I was nonplussed. The twist ending seemed gratuitous at first, inserted because an Edward Gorey project is expected to be slightly unsettling and odd rather than because the story earns the ending or the ending really adds to the book.My 3 year old son however took the whole thing in a much more light-hearted way. The strangeness of the ending merely prompted him to keep puzzling it out and asking questions we ended up with a few good conversations about insects, the rotation of the earth, and fiction. As a result of the reading he started making more counterfactual jokes, trying to imagine himself empathetically in different physical situations, and coming up with his own multiple alternative explanations for common daily phenomena.I just wanted to enjoy the book without any great expectations for its impact, but got so much more....and of course the illustrations are great.
billiecat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This scant tale-cum-science lesson illustrated by Gorey lacks enough of the fantastic to give his illustrations free rein. Many of the pages are nearly completely black, and the pictures seem to be only marginalia. One of Gorey's marvelous cats does make an appearance, ad was to my daughter the best part of the book, but overall she did not care for it. For myself, it was over quickly and it now rests on my shelf.
waitingtoderail on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a short kids book that has two things going for it - science, and the beautiful, yet simple, drawings of the wonderful Edward Gorey. What a wonderful way to introduce children to the realities of the universe. This will take a place of pride among my son's books. He's only 16 months, not quite really ready for this, but I'd say around the start of school-age would be a great time to introduce this book to your child, or to present as a gift. Bravo on reintroducing a new generation to this lost classic.
quaintlittlehead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a spectacularly weird little book; what else can one expect from a collaboration with Edward Gorey? I thought the first page of the story was just pre-title page art until I turned a leaf and realised we had begun. The text is so sparse, with just a line or two on each page. Much of the art is white on black. In the beginning, in spite of the clever imaginings of the child characters about why it might be dark (e.g. "Aren't we born yet?"), I was beginning to fear that the story would not live up to the images--it seemed to be going in a typical "Dick and Jane" direction, where the text exists for reading's sake and not for literature's. Then the oldest character interjects his scientific understanding, learned from his father, about why it really is dark. Suddenly, the book is an educational experience, facts with a well-drawn (and citrus) twist. And just when you think our characters are about to grasp the rotation of Earth in all its quotidian glory, they become children again and pull away with a final, fantastical idea about why it's dark "now." This is the kind of book you give your kids if you want them to understand science, appreciate imagination, and spot symbolism in art and literature--and who doesn't? Paying close attention to the almost invisible bits of white at the corners of early pages, and the significance of the colours throughout (I found it interesting to note that all the white pages have older, wiser adults on them) makes this a graphic as well as a literary feast. My only complaint is with the publication itself; while the book is phenomenally put together from cover to cover and a treat to hold and look at, the interior pages are glossy, and with so many of them being black, fingerprints are likely to show up easily, spoiling the beauty a little bit (especially if you actually set this book in the hands of children). Otherwise, I am even more excited about owning this book after having read it than I was when I found out I was getting a free review copy.
dchaikin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a quick picture book for kids that happens to have wonderful Gorey illustrations and a very curious dialogue of four young characters who are trying to understand why it¿s dark. The dialogue is incomplete, and leaves my kids (4 & 6) in different states of confusion or annoyance. They insist on an ending, and will finish it themselves when I stop. I think it has them thinking, and it has me thinking too. Oh, and the book is gorgeous. Recommended.
mirbee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This gorgeous new edition from Pomegranate is a beautifully bound, stunning reprint of the original. The illustrations are stunningly reproduced, with rich deep blacks ink. The paper is heavy and durable with a smooth finish. The illustrations them selves are classic Gorey - lively, fascinating characters, economy of background and motion, and always a touch of enigmatic curiosity about them. The story itself is a delightful discussion and inventive illustration of the physics of planetary rotation, how the sun shines on the Earth, and why in fact we do have night and day. The demonstration then takes a twist and we are transported into a realm where illustrative explanation, reality and fantasy merge, and we are not at all certain where we are. The books ends with an enigma, and this is the one point at which I am uncertain if it is suitable for young children who are still thinking very concretely. I would recommend it for adults and for children over the age of five or six, when imagination is alive, but won't overpower their sense of security. Especially great for young readers who love odd or fanciful ideas, who are fascinated by life's big questions, and who enjoy a sense of quirky mystery.