Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
With poetic and lyrically repetitive prose, Aylesworth tells the story of a father's nighttime journey home to his waiting wife and children. Rich and often emotionally charged illustrations bring the details of Aylesworth's descriptive tale to life. Patrick provides resonant pictures of the farmlands, cityscapes, and neighborhood streets that the father travels to get home. She provides a detailed look at the life of a travelling parent for the child reader who wonders where a parent goes at night and how s/he feels when driving home. The father's welcome home from his family is touchingly portrayed. The book also opens up some of the possibilities of what occurs at night, which is a topic of great interest to child readers who are often left wondering what happens after they go to bed.
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Pictured on the title page is a blonde little girl anxiously watching out the window. The story then changes focus to the traveling father who is returning home. We join him in his circa 1950 car as he passes through the country, into the city and finally into his own driveway. The warm nighttime tones of the illustrations invite the reader into this celebration of a father's love. Together with the poetic text we sense not only the great distance he is traveling but also the great longing he feels for his family: "And all the while, mile after mile, the music played, the engine roared, the wind wuffled at the edge of the window, and the lonely driver thought of home...his children...his wife". Although the landscapes and cityscapes evoke a bygone era, the feelings here are perennial and universal. Quiet and satisfying.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreSAylesworth's simple, quiet story is set 50 to 60 years ago. It follows a well-dressed man driving home at dusk through rural and urban landscapes to his own doorstep where his wife and children wait with welcoming arms. Full-page illustrations show a road winding through hilly open country beneath a starry sky, tall factory smokestacks and steel girders, twinkling skyscrapers, curving bridges, and neon-lighted shops. Muted colors are rich and dark, and some of the drawings have the appearance of heavy acrylic paintings, although they are all rendered in pastel. Smooth, creamy paper complements the sophisticated tone of the illustrations. The routine nature and timelessness of the plot and the slight mystery of where the man is heading offer just the sort of appeal that will attract young children.Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
In a lullaby to night, readers settle in with a lonely father on a long drive through a landscape of hills and highways; he is longing to reach home, where his children and wife wait. The excursion takes him past fields, traffic, lights, factories, bridges, and a city of a bygone era until his car turns "almost knowingly" down a familiar street, where his children have been allowed to stay up late, awaiting his homecoming. Aylesworth (The Gingerbread Man, p. 52, etc.) opts for mood over anticipation, creating the fuzzy-edged sleepiness of a night drive through repetition of lulling phrases. "Houses nestle snugly" and street lamps make "leafy shadows," evoking whispery scenes in which engines are "muffled" and the wind is "wuffled at the edge of the window." The bid for universality, coupled with the distant tone of the prose, may leave readers curiously detached from this drive through the past; for a more intimate depiction of a nocturnal road trip, turn to John Coy's Night Driving (1996). Patrick's glowing paintings anchor the sentiments to a time when mothers and children did wait at home for the father, out in the world, and bestow another tier of nostalgia to the journey. The artist's use of perspective assigns the red car of the traveler a personalityit has a character all its own, dwarfed by city skyscrapers or stationed in a driveway, mirroring moonlight in its glass. (Picture book. 3-6)