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Stormy Night Hardcover – September 1, 1999

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lightning bolts and existential dilemmas keep a girl awake in this unusual volume, which resembles a compact, thick sketchbook filled with line drawings. The tidy, surreal imagery is strictly black-on-white and recalls the likes of Dali and De Chirico as often as the looser, more accessible line of de Saint-Exup?ry. Brief sentences ("Is there only one of me in the world?") accompany minimalist pictures of the speaker sitting in bed or exchanging concerned glances with her dog, providing launching points for a series of thematic questions ("Sometimes I feel like I don't fit in my body!/ Imagine if we could switch bodies..."). Figures from the girl's imagination convey uncertainty laced with dry humor. A face appears in the center of a labyrinth alongside a plaintive "Sometimes I feel completely lost!" Wordless spreads dramatize the silences between epiphanies. Sometimes, extravagantly blank white pages bring the shock of utter emptiness, while contrasting ink-wash spreads show the girl's small house in a rainy landscape of gray hills and wind-lashed poplar trees. The storm and the anxieties last all night ("Will I know when it's time to die? Will it hurt?"), but with sunrise comes optimism. Lemieux's (What's That Noise?) evocative images and statements work singly, but together they bear cumulative weight and offer reassurance that such questions are universal. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Grade 4-8-While this unusually long picture book (240 pages) provides no answers to the many queries posed by a young girl who can't sleep because "Too many questions are buzzing through my head," readers may find solace in knowing that they are not the only ones who struggle with these issues. There is no story here; it's simply a catalog of questions and fears ranging from typical concerns about appearance to fears of abandonment, war, and robbers; to universal enigmas such as "Will the world come to an end someday?" "Are things better after death than in life?" "And hell-does it really exist?" The black-and-white line drawings are appropriately small and surrounded by ample white space, reflecting the young person's feelings of inadequacy in the face of such vast mysteries. They reveal her restlessness as she hides under the covers or under the bed, curls up on the rug, and seeks the comfort of her dog. Often the drawings are as provocative as the questions they depict. Opposite the query, "Will I have children someday?" is a pregnant woman next to a man inside a watering can with its spout looking for all the world like a penis scattering sperm. Dark double-page spreads illustrating the stormy night of the title punctuate the text and mirror the storm raging in the young girl's mind. This inventory of mind-bending mysteries may provide an outlet for adolescents unable to formulate their concerns and could serve as a jumping-off point for discussions at home or in the classroom.
Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community-Technical College, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1550746928
  • ISBN-13: 978-1550746921
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #862,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Geekier than thou TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I simply adore this book. The economy-of-line drawings are sweet and simply precious. The hardbound book is a classy-presented volume suitable for a coffeetable or as the "feature" on your bookshelf. The back spine is black cloth and the front and back covers are smooth clay paper. The pages are thick, sturdy cotton and just shy of being considered card stock... very nice.
During a stormy night, a young girl, probably 9-12 years old, has trouble sleeping and her dog keeps her company as she ponders life's deepest questions. Her dog attentively follows her as she raids the refrigerator, brushes her teeth and sits on her bed. As she eats, you see many little bone-shaped dog treats on the floor... it is just too cute!
During the night, her parents are obviously asleep and her dog is the only bounding board she has for questions such as, "Will I know when it's my time to die?" and "Will it hurt?" and makes suppositions about her future and station in life.
The book wanders closely into the realm of new age, but it doesn't really teach any "new" concepts... the thoughts the little girl is pondering are thoughts all kids have, but rarely share with anyone... thoughts and fears that stay with us if a belief system is not introduced in the home. This is a great book to read with your children... it opens up topics of discussion in a very non-threatening environment and opens the stage for teaching children your beliefs concerning what happens when we die, etc.
The book might be a little to intimidating to very young readers to absorb by themselves, but as a night-time read with a parent, even a five year old can participate in conversation about such topics... but really young readers may have trouble with the detailed drawings. Visually, the drawings are for more sophisticated eyes. As an adult, I just love this little book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven Harsch on May 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Stormy Night is an AMAZING book, written by an extremely talanted author. In simple line sketches, and one-line questions and phrases, the author has managed to convey things that EVERYONE has felt - numerous times in their lives. The book consists of a main theme, focusing on LIFE and many WHAT-IFs. A WONDERFUL and FASCINATING read, recommended for both young and old!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderfly creative and thought provoking book. Exposing the fears and curiosities we all have but think are unique to only us. The illustrations are imaginative and artistically charming in their relevance to the text. An examination of the vulnerablity in all of us, young and old.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Powell on October 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The amount of text in this book makes it look like an early reader, but the basic questions it poses can make an adult stop and think. It covers the essential questions that plague humans since we became aware of our own existence within the world. Why are we here? It does not really answer that question, but it poses it in such a way that you just feel good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick R. Smith on January 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I found this book on the sale shelf at the local library yesterday afternoon. I was drawn to it by its unusual appearance--a black cover and very thick pages with simple drawings. As I began reading it, I was laughing and exclaiming aloud, as the book sounded like the verbatim inquiry that my seven year old son seems to engage in every night or so just before bed. I bought the book for fifty cents and brought it home to my son, who is more of an avid thinker than an avid reader. He has never taken so readily to any book before. He brought it to bed with him (of course!), was still holding onto it in the morning and even brought it to school with him today. The presentation of all of the questions in the book is at once humorous, deep, real and universal. The illustrations themselves tell a cute story of a child's restless nighttime wanderings. This book is an absolute treasure--truly unique.
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