This portrait of New York City circa 1939 tracks the colorful customers (and classic cars) that visit Lucky's 24-Hour Garage in the wee hours. Angelo, the sole night-staffer, looks snappy in his blue jumpsuit, tidy bow tie and brimmed cap--and he's ready with an Indian-head nickel when a guy needs spare change. The story could be the setup for hard-boiled fiction--all the potential players are here, from the femme fatale on the motorbike to the traveling swing band to the man in a rumpled tux. However, these folks are just passing through, to the lively ""Dingding!"" of the air-hose bell (""Michigan, Texas, Delaware, Ohio--the plates told where they had come from but not where they were going""). Kirk's (Skateboard Monsters) airbrush-smooth, stylized oils mimic American scene painting; a melancholy image of Angelo napping in his chair, his yellow-lit office a beacon amid quiet buildings and empty sidewalks, draws inspiration from Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. The author powerfully evokes the mysterious hours before dawn, and augments his humid summer atmosphere with a well-timed thunderstorm. Although this volume offers a series of scenarios rather than a conventional plot curve, it's a captivating slice of Americana, complete with antique autos. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996 Release date: 09/01/1996 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.