- The Night Walk by Marie Dorléans
Trade ed. ISBN 9781782506393 $17.95
Reviewed from digital galleys R 4–7 yrs
It seems unreasonable for parents to wake their two kids up in the middle of the night, but the brother and sister compliantly pull on their clothes at their mother’s bidding (“Let’s go, so we get there on time”). There’s an initial touch of creepiness to the unstated mission, but it segues into pure beauty as the family heads through their village, where the bright lights of a downtown hotel give way to dimly lit residences on the outskirts, and finally to a darkness in the countryside that’s punctuated only by a passing train and the glimmer of star- and moonlight. It’s a long walk, but they pause by a lake to “play with the moon,” mimicking its reflection on the still water with their flashlight beams. Then it’s up a rocky hillside to their destination—a miraculous view of sunrise creeping over the hill tops: “‘Ohhh!’ We sat quite still, warm together, amazed by the light of a new day.” This family outing, translated from the French, is a sensory delight, detailed with sounds and scents and tactile sensations that are enhanced by experiencing the world in, literally, a different light. Dorléans works wonders within a limited color range of rich blues and warm and bright whites, concluding with a wordless spread of yolk yellow sky and a glaring white sun almost too bright to view without blinking. Pair this with Denos’ Windows or O’Leary’s Night Walk (BCCB 10/20) for an entrancing saunter.