Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night

Come feel the cool and shadowed breeze,

come smell your way among the trees,

come touch rough bark and leathered leaves:

Welcome to the night.

Welcome to the night, where mice stir and furry moths flutter. Where snails spiral into shells as orb spiders circle in silk. Where the roots of oak trees recover and repair from their time in the light. Where the porcupette eats delicacies—raspberry leaves!—and coos and sings.

Come out to the cool, night wood, and buzz and hoot and howl—but beware of the great horned owl—for it’s wild and it’s windy way out in the woods

Awards and Honors

Newbery Honor Book

Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book

Boston Globe/Horn Book Award Honor Book

Horn Book Fanfare

NCTE Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts

Bulletin Blue Ribbon

Booklist Editor's Choice

CBC Bank Street Best Book of the Year (starred)

Chicago Public Library Best book of the Year

NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book

Cybils Poetry Award Finalist

Eureka! Nonfiction Children's Book Award



Book Trailer

Reader's Guide

More Fun Stuff:

Joyce reading “Welcome to the Night"

90-second-Newbery skit

Minnesota Raptor Center's Owl Activity page


*Horn Book (starred review)

"From the opening poem, "To all of you who crawl and creep, / who buzz and  chirp and hoot and peep, / who wake at dusk and throw off sleep: / Welcome to the night," Sidman celebrates the world that comes alive after dark."


*Bulletin (starred review)

"This new volume teams a dozen Sidman poems about nocturnally active organisms from raccoons to snails to mushrooms with the work of artist Allen, who offers a sequence of gouache-tinted linocut prints follows the night from sunset's crepuscular tones into the dark of small hours and through until dawn, with the moon moving across the sky overhead."


*Booklist (starred review)

"This picture book combines lyrical poetry and compelling art with science concepts. ”


*Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"Spiders offer advice, porcupettes pirouette, and the moon laments the dawn, all illuminated by debut talent Allen's detailed yet moody prints, which  encapsulate the mysteries and magic of the midnight hours . . . In Sidman's delicious poems, darkness is the norm, and there's nothing to fear but the rising sun."

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