A Long Road on a Short Day

Gary D. Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney, illus. by Eugene Yelchin. Clarion, $17.99 (64p) ISBN 978-0-544-88836-4
Samuel’s mother wishes one winter morning for “a brown-eyed cow to give us milk for the baby.” A man of action, Samuel’s father takes his good knife off the mantelpiece and sets out to trade. “It’s a long road on a short day,” he tells Samuel, urging him to keep up—they know the winter sun will set soon. In a series of neighborly negotiations, the knife is exchanged for a pair of tin lanterns, the lanterns for a book of poetry, the poetry for a fine pitcher, and so on, until Samuel and his father return with the treasure they sought. Early American scenes by Yelchin (Spy Runner) capture driving snow, rural scenery, and the many farm animals Samuel encounters. In short, vivid chapters, Schmidt (Pay Attention, Carter Jones) and his late wife, Stickney, show Samuel’s father’s canny judgment (he knows just who might like the book of poetry) while paying attention to Samuel’s inner life, too. He longs for a pet of his own: he “wished again, just a little bit, it wasn’t a brown-eyed cow his mother was wanting.” Underpinning this deliberately paced story with an old-fashioned feel is the relationship between Samuel and his strong, reliable father, whose pride in his son is quiet but evident. Ages 8–12. Authors’ agent: Rick Margolis, Rising Bear Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/23/2020
Release date: 11/10/2020
Genre: Children's
Book - 978-0-358-37857-0
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