Kirkus Reviews QR Code
NIGHT RUNNING by Elisa Carbone


How James Escaped with the Help of His Faithful Dog

by Elisa Carbone & illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-82247-6
Publisher: Knopf

Based on a true story the author came across while writing the historical-fiction novel Stealing Freedom (1998), this beautifully illustrated picture book tells of the attempt of a young slave boy to escape his situation and go north. James tells his friend that he will escape that evening, but he’s caught by the men to whom his friend sold the information. Sure to be severely punished, James is lucky to be rescued by his dog Zeus. James shows a real lack of faith in Zeus, continually trying to get rid of him, afraid that he will somehow foil the escape. But Zeus is the reason that James gets through a number of frightening situations. Finally, after the reader is beginning to lose patience, James realizes how loyal Zeus is and that he should be appreciated. A one-page author’s note tells the full story of James and Zeus who actually did escape slavery. Caldecott Honor–winner Lewis’s stunning watercolors, some covering the entire spread, help convey the story in ways words cannot. Zeus is lovingly drawn in all his persistence, loyalty and bravery. James’s defeatism that turns into hope is perfectly indicated by the merest change of a brush stroke as Lewis adds to his long list of truly accomplished work. An excellent way to teach history, this belongs in every library. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)