Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith, illus. by E. B. Lewis

Cindy: I missed the prequel to this, The Way a Door Closes, when it first published, but hunted it down and read it, too, after reading this new sequel. 13-yr.-old C. J. struggles with a full range of emotions when his father returns to the household after a long absence. The poetry is very fine, the illustrations exquisite, and the story will touch the hearts of all who have had someone reinsert themselves in their lives. One of my favorite spreads is the one where the dad and son know that the house is no longer big enough for both of them. The illustration shows who is winning that fight. Caldecott committee, are you keeping the night watch?
Lynn: We're conjoined souls on this fabulous book! The evocative poetry goes right to the heart and the wonderful illustrations extend and enrich the poetry for a powerful combination. This is a poetry book that will make converts out of people who think they don't like poetry. I love how this book speaks to the issue of changing family roles. So many of us have experienced that whether it is a traveling spouse, shift changes, divorce, stepfamilies etc. and this captures the complexity of emotions that lies beneath the question of who locks the door at night. Now I'd never tell an award committee what to do but....:-)


Anonymous said...

Hope Anita Smith may be the most elegant woman I've ever met. And she's a brilliant, brilliant writer. She captures such authentic emotion in both of her lovely books, so beautifully illustrated by E.B. White, they take my breath away. And she's as gentle and thoughtful in person as she is in her work. I've thought for a LONG time, she's a rising star. I hope millions of people soon prove I'm right. They'll be richer for knowing her books.

Kelly Milner Halls