Saturday, May 20, 2017

Summer Reading 2017 The Way Home in the Night


The illustrations in charcoal, pencil, and acrylic gouache capture the mix of darkness and splashes of light that can be experienced when walking through a city at night. When you look closely, there is the grainy texture of an old photo and that texture creates another layer of distance and dimness to the scenes. The young rabbit who narrates the walk home notices details as the family passes along the street. The scent of freshly baked pie. The flicker of light from a television set. The sound of a party next door. All the senses are engaged as they approach home and bedtime.

This is a different kind of bedtime story. The city with a variety of animals as its inhabitants is an unusual mix of setting and characters. Generally we see people in their homes settling in for the night, or perhaps animals out in the country cuddling up with their young. The difference is a unique feature of this book and draws your attention in to find out exactly what these animals are doing in their shops and apartments. Scenes with a goat using a toothbrush or a deer asleep on the couch with an open book in its lap will have readers pausing and taking a second look.

The slow, steady progress of the parents carrying the small rabbit is like the steady tick of the clock toward bedtime. And the child wondering about the things they passed on the way home is similar to the way all of us have thoughts that float through our minds as we drift off to sleep. "Some nights are ordinary, and other nights are special. But every night, we all go home to bed." Those ending lines are comforting and tie us all together, whether we are the characters or the readers. 

With its subdued color palette and the shadowy darkness of the city scenes, this is a book that lulls you into restfulness as you read it. A nice, quiet bedtime story.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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