Saturday, June 7, 2008

Keeping the Night Watch

Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith with illustrations by E.B. Lewis
Now that C.J.'s father, who had left the family, has returned, the teen notes that dinners are like "a roomful of strangers" and that he feels weighed down by "brick heavy" questions. Wise beyond his years, eldest son C.J. felt it was his role to "keep the night watch" during his father's absence. Now, he feels displaced in his own home and seethes with anger and resentment. Gradually, everyone starts to move on: C.J. experiences the awkward elation of first love, tries his hand at shaving, and argues and makes up with his best friend. His little sister sends love notes to each family member, and, at book's end, C.J. and his family come together: "We dance on our tears."


Karen Leggett/Children's Literature said...

...These poems will reach a broad audience. Among advanced and struggling readers alike, they will quickly erase any notion that poetry is obtuse, irrelevant or just plain boring.

Laura Woodruff/VOYA said...

The beauty of this small book is in the illustrations. Lewis, veteran of more than thirty-five books for young readers...perfectly captures the members of the Washington family. Softly done, in natural, muted tones, the features and postures of his subjects are ethnically flawless. Varying in size, most illustrations take up every other page and depict the emotion or action of the verse on the opposing page. In this easy read, Smith and Lewis create a worthwhile addition to any middle school multicultural collection.