Nighttime Symphony

by Timbaland (Author) Christopher Kaa Illustration (Illustrator)

Nighttime Symphony
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

The sounds of the city at night create a lively lullaby in this melodious bedtime story from superstar producer and musician Timbaland, Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Christopher Myers, and Kaa Illustration!

Hey there, darling baby child, you're safe in here though the storm is wild the streetlights glow through dark so deep but safe in sound you'll go to sleep. As a little boy gets ready for bed, the sounds of a wild storm echo around him, lulling him to sleep.

From the crash of thunder to the pitter-patter of raindrops to the beat of passing cars, the music of the city creates a cozy bedtime soundtrack.

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Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Sophisticated nighttime spreads by Myers (Wings) and Kaa Illustration accompany this lullaby about a stormy city night by rapper Timbaland, making his debut, and Myers. The group reimagines the scary sounds of a storm as an energetic symphony for a child watching out his window. An African-American father holds his young son as rain spatters against the boy's bedroom windows: "Hey there, darling baby child,/ you're safe in here/ though the storm is wild." The boy is uncertain, his hand around his father's wrist, but the father puts the boy to bed, "safe in sound." As the narration continues to reassure ("Do you hear the raindrops tap/ upon the windows of your nap?"), glittering musical notes appear across the dark sky outside. Meter stays tight ("Radios sing in every home,/ steady like the city's metronome") until, after a clap of thunder, the verse halts to speak words of comfort: "The angels too/ are musicians." Brilliant golds, slate grays, and bright vermilion show passersby, a parade of umbrellas, and an elegant cityscape, and the sleek aesthetic gives the city's wet streets and glowing windows all the surprising glamor of a thumping storm. Ages 4-8. (May)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

As a storm rages outside, a Black father soothes his young son by helping him to find beauty in the sounds of the storm. In this charming poem, Timbaland, Myers, and Kaa Illustration join forces to bring the music of the night to life. Full-page spreads of rich, digitally rendered illustrations mix harmoniously with the lyrical groove of the tapping of rain, rolling thunder, and honking cars create a treat for readers' eyes and ears. This book could help temper the anxieties of children who are afraid of stormy weather or it could be paired with Wendy Cheyette Lewison's Raindrop, Plop! for a lovely rain-themed storytime. VERDICT Beautiful illustrations and a soothing lullaby make this a solid purchase for school and public libraries.—India Winslow, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Timbaland is a multi-platinum Grammy Award-winning producer and artist. His indelible imprint has stamped countless recordings with successful and legendary artists such as Justin Timberlake, Aaliyah, Madonna, Missy Elliott, One Republic, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and many others. In 2006 he founded his music label, Mosley Music Group, and was also the producer for the hit TV series Empire. Timbaland currently lives in Florida with his family. Nighttime Symphony is his first book for children.

Christopher Myers is an award-winning author and illustrator of children's books. He won a Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in Harlem, and has received three Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards. Myers has illustrated many books written by his father, award-winning author Walter Dean Myers. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Kaa Illustration is a studio based in Ho Chi Minh City comprised of illustrators Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien. Their stunning, vibrant illustrations are inspired by the folk culture of Vietnam and Asia. Visit them at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date
May 20, 2019
BISAC categories
JUV010000 - Juvenile Fiction | Bedtime & Dreams
JUV011010 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JUV023000 - Juvenile Fiction | Lifestyles | City & Town Life
JUV057000 - Juvenile Fiction | Stories in Verse (see also Poetry)
Library of Congress categories
City and town life
Stories in rhyme
JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United S
JUVENILE FICTION / Performing Arts / Music
JUVENILE FICTION / Bedtime & Dreams

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