Sunday 16 May 2021

Good Night, Ivy Bright

Good Night, Ivy Bright, written by Ben Long, illustrated by Andrew Plant (Ford Street Publishing) HB RRP $24.95 ISBN 978 1 925804713                                 

Reviewed by Karen Hendriks

Ivy Bright can’t get to sleep. The usual boring things like counting sheep just don’t work. Ivy decides to paint her dreams with imagination. As her mind drifts she goes on a wondrous and colourful journey.


Ben Long and Andrew Plant are both CBCA Notable award winners who have combined to make a delightful book that is a stunning way to enter the world of dreams. Ben enjoys writing stories that are fun to read aloud. Andrew rarely has a brush out of his hand as he explores unique angles and colour combinations.


Ben Long has used rhyme and playful language with picture book perfection. The text is a glorious read aloud and literally sings on each page. The word play brings a smile to my dial. Splish! Splash! Splot! Splat! Until the job was done. The dialogue is used sparingly in the right places. We can dip into Ivy’s thoughts when she is pondering her colour choices. Ben has cleverly included the concepts of bedtime, dreams, creativity, colour, and resilience.  If you make reading fun children will always be ready to jump on board and dive into a story. And this is exactly what Ben has done. Ben’s other titles include Jasper Juggles, Jellyfish, Ready, Steady, Hatch, and Higgledee,Giggledee.


Andrew Plant’s skills include designing and painting theatre sets and murals and this shows in this book’s spectacular parade of colour. The vivid double page spreads are breathtakingly bright, and happy, just like Ivy Bright. The movement of Ivy on each page is whimsical and the detail allows the reader to find hidden gems on each spread. Andrew has not only supported the text but spilled the play of dreams into his creations. They encourage a child to play within the images and discover hidden creatures and interesting things. This is a book that wants to be revisited and shared. It’s a bit like having your cake and eating it too. Andrew is an internationally published creator of children’s books and this book shows his depth and experience.


Good Night, Ivy Bright, is a picture book that is suitable for 4-8 years, and parents, teachers, and librarians alike will be sure to adore this one. This book takes children on a dream ride full of fun, with exploration and imagination to find the colour purple and is well done.

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