Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Pilkey (When Cats Dream; the Dragon books) is at his best in this highly atmospheric work. Here his trademark color palette glows quietly under the cover of darkness; violet skies and emerald-shadowed fields predominate until the explosion of a fiery dawn. Early one cold morning a boy and his dog rise to deliver newspapers. In almost reverential silence they eat breakfast, prepare the newspapers, then step out into the chill, leaving sleeping parents and sister inside. Pilkey perfectly captures the thrill of being out early, seeing the world so new and having it all to oneself. Something magical is at work on this most ordinary of paper routes, tangible in the controlled hush of the narrative and in the still, moon-lit landscapes. And, at last, as his family awakens to golden sunlight, the paperboy returns to his bed, prepared to enter another familiar Pilkey world: dreamland. Ages 4-10. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
In the dark, just before dawn, a young boy rises to make preparations and set out on his paper route. The quiet of the breaking day and the beauty of the world waking up are captured in the glorious illustrations. After his deliveries are made, the young boy returns home and crawls back into bed . Pilkey's illustrations make an ordinary activity extraordinary.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3A quiet mood piece that depicts the bond between a paperboy and his dog. Human and canine both struggle to rouse themselves, eat breakfast from bowls, and have an intimate knowledge of their route. Pilkey paints their shared experiences with a graceful economy of language. Morning is the third character in the story"...this is the time when they are the happiest." Deep, sumptuous acrylics portray the initial darkness, the gradual lightening, and the riotous magenta and orange sunrise. The artist has cleverly designed parallel, yet contrasting, opening and closing scenes of the African American child in bed, feet covered by his dog, room framed by a sloping roof. In the first spread, the still starry morning surrounds the house and "enters" it through the uncurtained window. When the duo return and crawl back into bed, the shade is pulled against the brilliance, the room darkeneda scene clinching their camaraderie. A totally satisfying story for small groups or individuals.Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
A quiet, solid mood piece with a quiet, solid protagonist, who becomes a hero simply by doing his job every day. The soft prose and starlit illustrations evoke the paperboy's suburban world, as he tiptoes past the bedroom doors of his sleeping family and bikes with his dog through the chilly predawn air. The paperboy is black and, in these paintings, looks a little like another solitary hero, Peter, in Ezra Jack Keats's The Snowy Day (1962). The paperboy's story has a satisfying roundness, beginning and ending in the snug warmth of his bed. The paper route interrupts his dream life, but also extends it: It gives him time to think about the big and little things in his day. When dawn comes it is a celebration, a daily miracle, and the whole book brightens its hue. Pilkey (The Hallow-Wiener, 1995, etc.) may have created a throwback to a simpler time by presenting work as a desirable activity for children; this book is a gentle salve for the instability in so much of modern life.
From the Publisher
* "Pilkey is at his best in this highly atmospheric work." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Beautifully composed landscapes and interiors... An evocative mood piece." -- Booklist, starred review
"A totally satisfying story for small groups or individuals." -- School Library Journal