cover image The Night Is for Darkness

The Night Is for Darkness

Jonathan Stutzman, illus. by Joseph Kuefler. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-291253-4

On a moonlit night, a family leaves their old house—moving boxes atop the car, children peering wistfully from the backseat—to begin a road trip across state borders. The “bright golden beams” of the vehicle’s headlights, the moon, and the young passengers’ flashlights are the only sources of illumination in scenes awash in crepuscular colors, and Kuefler uses them to spotlight creatures (bunnies, bats, and owls hide and dart in the dark) and create a feeling of nocturnal adventure. Stutzman’s rhyming text flows easily; the refrain—“the night is for”—lends a lullabylike rhythm. Upon the group’s arrival, Kuefler uses lamps and candlelight to evoke the family’s warm bond, but the verse falls flat as the focus shifts from nature to the indoors, where rhymes (“stories,/ for reading/ and telling.// Of magic and strangers,/ and beans/ they are selling”) fail to conjure the outdoor lines’ level of discovery. Even so, both nighttime and new experiences are full of mystery and the unknown, and this offering is couched in reassurance and comfort. Ages 4–8. (June)