Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by John Coy

Age Range: 4 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8050-2931-1
Publisher: Henry Holt

 Staying up all night is one of those small yet significant childhood rites of passage, a first glimpse at adulthood, recreated here by two picture-book newcomers. A father and son drive all night to the mountains. In a narrative comprised of a series of moments rather than events, they listen to baseball, watch mule deer, and drive without headlights, with only the moon ``like a giant's night light.'' More a coming- of-age memory than a story, the nocturnal sojourn is complete with the boy's first sip of coffee, a flat tire, stargazing, and a visit to a diner. The black-and-white pencil on paper drawings are stark yet soft, like those in Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (1984). Each one is striking in composition, reminiscent of a photograph, preventing the story from being just another piece of nostalgia. A series of hushed, starlit illustrations creates the impending sense that magic is just around the bend. While adults may appreciate this look at an uncomplicated childhood, younger readers will find the text soothing and the parent/child companionship reassuring. (Picture book. 4+)