AS THE CITY SLEEPS by Stephen T. Johnson


Age Range: 7 - 9
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Like Chris Van Allsburg’s Mysteries of Harris Burdick (1984) but on a single thematic track, the latest from Johnson (The Range Eternal, p. 1222, etc.) offers a series of late-night urban scenes, to which mysterious lights, spectral figures, strange creatures and other nape-prickling features have been added. Increasing the sense of mystery are elliptical captions on the opposite page: “STRANGE PETS / out for some fresh air,” “THE LEAVES / There was no wind,” and the like. What makes these cityscapes particularly pulse-elevating is the photographic realism with which the darkened streets and silhouetted buildings—not to mention the huge snake disappearing down a manhole, the prehistoric reptile soaring high overhead, or the monkeys suddenly departing an elaborately framed jungle painting—are rendered. Occasional fogging or smearing adds even more atmosphere to these deliciously chilling tableaus. Perfect for creative-writing groups, after all, what is one to make of “Ghost Riders / Last seen in 1906, they vanished without a trace” set opposite a spectral train car packed with riders? Nighty-night, city dwellers. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-670-88940-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2002


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