Night Driving

John Coy, Author, Peter McCarty, Illustrator
John Coy, Author, Peter McCarty, Illustrator Henry Holt & Company $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-2931-4
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-8050-6708-8
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-24415-2
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-75371-5
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Mood replaces plot in Coy's debut book, which describes a father and son's all-night road trip in the '50s. Action is spare and archetypal: they see a deer, fix a flat, stop for breakfast at a diner. The author establishes the sweetness of the father/son relationship, but doesn't offer much meat in his storytelling. McCarty's (Frozen Man) soft pencil illustrations look like black-and-white photos blurred and bleached by the passage of time; even so, they seem to glow with the refracted beams from the car's headlights. There is a quiet, insistent power to the art, but the sensibility is almost implacably adult. Kids will likely be frustrated by the limited ability of black-and-white illustrations to represent such references as the sun setting ""in a mix of orange and pink."" While this treatment--and this topic--may nourish the nostalgia of parents, the primary audience may be asking, ""Are we there yet?"" long before the end of the drive. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)
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