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Night Cars Board book – December 20, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Bright lights, big city--and a wakeful baby. In this tale, a pajama-clad tot keeps his father up all night long watching the flow of city life on the street below their window. They see snowplows and fire trucks, taxis, dogs and garbage men. Although the cadence of Jam's rhythmic text falters in a couple of places, for the most part it flows smoothly, making the story especially suitable for reading aloud. Beddows's atmospheric drawings are at times reminiscent of Edward Hopper's works, and his use of muted colors give the pages an appealing nostalgic look. It's an agreeable first book, one that should hold special attraction for city kids. Ages 3-6.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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We lost it in a basement flood some years ago, and I'm about to buy another copy, just in case there ever are grandchildren. ;)
Here's an example of one page:
"Garbage man garbage man
careful near that dream
It could gobble up your garbage truck
then where would you be"
That is far too abstract for a 3yo. I'm okay with explaining concepts to children - therein lies the power of reading - being exposed to new ideas/experiences/vocabulary. But what am I meant to explain here? That the baby is dreaming and if the rubbish truck is too noisy, the baby might start dreaming about something gobbling the truck up...?! Um...weird and scary for a 3yo.
"Someone needs a pillow
Call a taxi on the phone
Someone needs a goodnight kiss
Someone's eyes have fallen down"
So baby is tired and falling asleep. We already know he's at home dressed for bed. So what has calling a taxi on the phone got to do with it? Other than the fact they've planted a bunch of taxi's outside baby's window in the illustration.. It just feels awkward to me. Why are we drawing the reader back to calling a taxi when the direction of the story is baby falling asleep?
Basically, I felt there were some beautiful elements to this story - the dreaminess - and my 3yo enjoys looking at the illustrations together - but the poetry is too abstract and disjointed and ultimately distracts from the flow of the story. Sure, read this book with your little one but don't buy it for it's poetical element.
Also, the illustrations are far from unexceptional. The artist Eric Beddows has a wonderful sense of detail and weaves visual themes throughout the book.
It's as good or better than "Train Song" by Diane Siebert and Mike Wimmer (Illustrator).