- Age Range: 5 - 7 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 3
- Lexile Measure: 360L (What's this?)
- Series: Caldecott Medal Book
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Harcourt Brace; 1st edition (March 31, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780152699543
- ISBN-13: 978-0152699543
- ASIN: 0152699546
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.3 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 48 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Smoky Night (Caldecott Medal Book) Hardcover – March 31, 1994
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This is a story about cats -- and people -- who couldn't get along until a smoky and fearful night brings them together.
The Los Angeles riots made author Eve Bunting wonder about what riots meant to the children who live through them -- and what we can all learn from such upheavals. She has written more than 100 books for children and young adults, including Night Tree and Summer Wheels, and many deal thoughtfully with difficult issues.
Smoky Night was the winner of the 1995 Caldecott Medal; an American Library Association Notable Children's Book; a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year; and a Parent's Choice Award.
From Publishers Weekly
Bunting addresses urban violence in this thought-provoking and visually exciting picture book inspired by the Los Angeles riots. Although they're neighbors, Daniel's cat and Mrs. Kim's cat don't get along. Nor do Daniel and his mother shop at Mrs. Kim's market. "It's better if we buy from our own people," Daniel's mother says. But when Daniel's apartment building goes up in flames, all of the neighbors (including the cats) learn the value of bridging differences. Bunting does not explicitly connect her message about racism with the riots in her story's background, but her work is thoroughly believable and taut, steering clear of the maudlin or didactic. Diaz's dazzling mixed-media collages superimpose bold acrylic illustrations on photographs of carefully arranged backgrounds that feature a wide array of symbolic materials--from scraps of paper and shards of broken glass to spilled rice and plastic dry-cleaner bags. Interestingly, Diaz doesn't strongly differentiate the presumably Asian American Mrs. Kim from the African American characters--even the artwork here cautions the reader against assumptions about race. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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But I've always been very bothered by the "definition" of rioting: "It can happen when people get angry. They want to smash and destroy. They don't care anymore what's right and what's wrong." This is a misleading and inadequate definition. For one thing, millions of people get angry without rioting. Rioting is an expression of anger, yes, but most anger doesn't lead to rioting. And those who do riot do, in a broad sense, care about what's right and what's wrong socially. They may not care about what's legal or not, but they are very concerned with what they perceive as social or political injustices. I've always felt that this is a one-sided book, expressing sympathy for those people who are caught in the neighborhoods where riots take place, but expressing no sympathy at all for what makes some of their neighbors riot.