cover image Night Driving

Night Driving

John Coy. Henry Holt & Company, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-2931-4

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.)