Review of The Night Walk

The Night Walk
by Marie Dorléans; illus. by the author; trans. from French by Polly Lawson
Primary    Floris    32 pp.    g
4/21    978-1-78250-639-3    $17.95

Awakened by their mother’s voice and a sliver of light through their bedroom door, two children sleepily dress so they can “get there on time.” Where they’re going is a mystery for readers, but the family of four ventures eagerly into the dark within the immersive full-bleed double-page spreads. Some stark, some diffuse, and some barely visible white lights pierce the blue-hued night world as the family members make their way past darkened homes and a brightly lit hotel toward a star-encrusted horizon. Beyond the town, they see curled-up cows and a faraway train “slic[ing] through the darkness.” The poetic, evocative text immerses readers in a nocturnal world; as the family finds its way through the woods, for example, “the bark smelled comforting.” With urgency, yet in awe, the family stops to rendezvous with the moon’s reflection upon the surface of a hidden pond and to lie back and gaze in wonder at the night sky. Painstaking line and graphite-pencil shading create depth and dimension for the various tree-lined, rocky, and mountainous terrains depicted along the way. At long last, the four gather atop a boulder to witness the break of dawn — that’s where we were going. This hushed, intimate picture book creates a respite from the demands of the daytime world and pulls readers into a moment of pure wonder and peace.

From the May/June 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Grace McKinney
Grace McKinney

Grace McKinney holds an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons University and reviews for the Horn Book Magazine. She works at a Montessori school in St. Louis, Missouri, and writes about children's books and Montessori on the blog Cosmic Bookshelf.

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