The Nighttime Chauffeur

Carly Simon, Author, Margot Datz, Illustrator Doubleday Books $16 (1p) ISBN 978-0-385-47009-4
Central Park, awash in moonlight and the mysteries of springtime, is the setting for this fulsome offering from Simon and Datz (previous collaborations include Amy the Dancing Bear and The Boy of the Bells ). A sort of Candyland version of the Dylan Thomas classic ``The Rocking Horse Winner,'' this almost feverishly earnest fairy tale begins when Jasper tells his father his seventh-birthday wish: ``Just for one night, I want to drive a horse-and-buggy sic around Central Park . . . and I want a beautiful princess with a long golden braid to be my passenger.'' Enter a magic rocking horse that invites the birthday boy on a nocturnal romp in the park, plus a princess prematurely aged by grief at having lost her ``note'' (which turns out to be C-sharp). Datz matches Simon's gushing tones with romantic paintings that relentlessly idealize their subjects. Despite the lavish, full-spread illustrations, however, production values are low (``They sky was indigo,'' begins one sentence) and art and text are not always in sync--for example, Simon makes much of a crescent moon (it ``pointed like a curved arrow in the direction of the future and all that was exciting and miraculous in life'') even as Datz pictures a big, cheesy full moon. All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1993
Release date: 09/01/1993
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