THROUGH THE NIGHT by Jim Aylesworth


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In a lullaby to night, readers settle in with a lonely father on a long drive through a landscape of hills and highways; he is longing to reach home, where his children and wife wait. The excursion takes him past fields, traffic, lights, factories, bridges, and a city of a bygone era until his car turns ""almost knowingly"" down a familiar street, where his children have been allowed to stay up late, awaiting his homecoming. Aylesworth (The Gingerbread Man, p. 52, etc.) opts for mood over anticipation, creating the fuzzy-edged sleepiness of a night drive through repetition of lulling phrases. ""Houses nestle snugly"" and street lamps make ""leafy shadows,"" evoking whispery scenes in which engines are ""muffled"" and the wind is ""wuffled at the edge of the window."" The bid for universality, coupled with the distant tone of the prose, may leave readers curiously detached from this drive through the past; for a more intimate depiction of a nocturnal road trip, turn to John Coy's Night Driving (1996). Patrick's glowing paintings anchor the sentiments to a time when mothers and children did wait at home for the father, out in the world, and bestow another tier of nostalgia to the journey. The artist's use of perspective assigns the red car of the traveler a personality--it has a character all its own, dwarfed by city skyscrapers or stationed in a driveway, mirroring moonlight in its glass.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Atheneum