What do animals do while we sleep? The new picture book Night Creatures: Animals That Swoop, Crawl, and Creep while You Sleep reveals the nocturnal world like you’ve never seen it! Read our Q&A with Author Rebecca Hirsch to get a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the book. Plus, download an activity guide created by Rebecca detailing how to take children on a night hike to observe creatures for themselves!
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while researching or writing the book?
I was surprised to learn that bobcats are widespread and abundant, because I’ve certainly never seen one! Apparently, they are good at staying hidden. I’m not giving up, though. I plan to keep my eyes open in case there are any bobcats lurking about.
Do you have any favorite moments in your research for this book?
While writing an early draft of this book, I went out for a walk after an autumn rain as the sun was setting. I happened upon a skunk in a grassy field. I think it may have been digging for earthworms. It would dig with its front paws, put its snout in the hole, then take a few steps forward, and dig some more. Since skunks usually don’t come out in daylight, I was thrilled to get a chance to see one in action. I crept toward it as close as I dared. It looked up at me and must have decided I wasn’t a threat, because it went back to its digging. After watching that skunk dig its way across the field, I knew I had to include skunks in my book!
What do you hope readers will learn or discover from reading your book?
I hope readers will discover the wonderful world of animals that come out after dark. The night is full of enchanting creatures. These animals may lurk in the shadows, but they aren’t scary. They are fascinating to watch, listen to, and learn about!
What was your inspiration for the book?
Mainly I was inspired by my childhood growing up in the western Pennsylvania countryside. I remember summer nights spent catching fireflies, listening to green frogs call from the pond, and watching the Milky Way appear as bats fluttered overhead.
I was also inspired by a night hike I went on as a parent. The hike took place during a family camp-out at one of my children’s summer camps. After sunset, the camp counselors led the campers and their families on a hike through the woods. They taught us how to feel the ground with our feet, let our eyes adjust to the darkness, and listen for the sounds of animals awake in the forest. It was during that hike that I decided to write a book about the night and its animals.
What is your favorite part of nighttime?
I love the inky blackness of a night in the country, away from city lights. I love to watch the stars and the whole Milky Way come out. And I love the night sounds that fill the darkness and the way they change throughout the seasons—tiny spring peepers cheep-cheeping in spring, green frogs bellowing in summer, crickets and katydids chirping as summer turns to fall
Night Creatures: Animals That Swoop, Crawl, and Creep while You Sleep
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 4 · Reading Level: Grade 2
Praise for Night Creatures
“Rhythmic and soothing, just right for a bedtime story.”—Kirkus Reviews
“[A] celebration of animals that are active when many people are sleeping.” – Growing with Science
Night Hike Activity
Download our PDF activity guide and learn how you can take readers on a walk to discover night creatures for themselves. Includes safety tips, activity suggestions, discussion questions. Download the guide on the website here or below.
Connect with Author Rebecca E. Hirsch
For more author and illustrator interviews on the Lerner blog click here!