KEEPING THE NIGHT WATCH by Hope Anita Smith

KEEPING THE NIGHT WATCH

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

C.J. and his family return in this companion to 2003’s The Way a Door Closes, winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in 2004. As this slim verse volume opens, C.J.’s father has returned to the fold, but his betrayal has left C.J. raw. He sees his brother playing one-on-one with Daddy, sees his sister snuggle up to Daddy for bedtime stories instead of him, and he hopes, “one day, / that my snowy mountain of anger will be / so weighed down with Daddy’s apology / I will be overwhelmed / by an avalanche of forgiveness.” Spring follows fall, however, and even as C.J. gropes his way through adolescence he finds himself understanding that, “In spite of everything, / our foundation is firm.” Smith’s verses capture anger, sadness, fear, disillusionment and reconciliation. Lewis’s watercolors, though characteristically beautiful, lack the emotional intensity of Shane Evans’s illustrations in the previous volume; in electing to illustrate the poems’ images, moreover, they leach the language of its poetic potential. Something of a disappointment visually, but the essential poignancy shines through. (Poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8050-7202-0
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2008




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