The narrator goes with his father to Bingleman's Midway, a carnival set up not far from their Ohio farmhouse. That night he runs away to join up; after a call from Bingleman, his father comes to claim him, surprisingly understanding. Ackerman (The Night Crossing, 1994, etc.) demonstrates a refined sense of detail and dialogue, and a large, colorful lexicon; she is something of a virtuoso in her choice of expressions. Moser's luminous watercolors are Vermeer-like in their depiction of degrees of light and in the angles from which they're drawn--cropped and framing the action from a point of view beyond the book. If Ackerman positions herself inside the story, Moser is outside; jointly they effect the lure of the midway, perhaps appreciated most by those who can never be part of it.