cover image Night Out

Night Out

Daniel Miyares. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6572-9

In a forbidding boarding school, at a long table under a chandelier, a boy eats alone while the other students chatter. In the dormitory, he lies awake while the others sleep. One night, his pet turtle escapes, leaving an invitation behind. The boy reads it, clambers out the window, and finds his turtle, who has grown large and carries the boy to a party hosted by animals who welcome him with cake and music. He returns at dawn with new confidence and stories to share. Keeping the text minimal (“Come in! Come in! You’re just in time”), Miyares (That Neighbor Kid) concentrates on developing quiet visual drama. The rich paintings contain a succession of time-honored fairy tale elements: a gothic school, a hand-lettered map, a secret moonlit journey, and the peaceable kingdom the boy discovers among the creatures who welcome him—including a golden-eyed owl, a bear, a fox, a goose, and a rabbit. Nighttime fantasy adventures often end with an “it was all a dream” moment, but this one lasts until the book is closed. There aren’t any lessons or morals—just the pleasure of watching a lonely boy find the friendship he wishes for. Ages 4–8. [em]Agency: Studio Goodwin Sturges. (May) [/em]