- 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: 0152699546
- ISBN-13: 978-0152699543
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.3 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,342,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Smoky Night (Caldecott Medal Book) Hardcover – March 31, 1994
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
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.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
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.
When the book begins, young Daniel and his mom are watching the people rioting in the street below. Daniel is confused by this, and rightly so. These people are taking an odd joy in what they do. Even as they destroy and steal they act happy with what they're doing. Says Daniel, "I've never heard anybody laugh the way they laugh". That night Daniel is woken up out of his bed by the shaking of his mother. The apartment building is on fire, and the boy cannot locate his pet cat Jasmine. In the panic he's forced to leave without her and stay in a shelter that night with his mom. Mrs. Kim, a neighbor of Daniel, is missing her cat as well. Suddenly a fire fighter enters the building, both cats under his arms. Where once the cats used to fight one another, now there is a bond between them. A similar attempt to make peace with Mrs. Kim ends with pleasing results.
The story doesn't strike you as particularly moving at first. You need to read it and digest it a while to get the full flavor of the text. When I first read through the tale I felt disappointed. A little let down. Then I thought about what I read and went back to it. The inclusion of the cats is really what lets this story work as well as it does. I also appreciated how the tale acknowledged the dark side of human beings. Though it's clear that Daniel and his mother are not "bad people", he notes that the reason he and his mother do not shop at the story of Mrs. Kim is that, "Mama says it's better if we buy from our own people". This chilling statement is somewhat rectified by the end, but just barely. I was grateful that this didn't turn out to be a throwaway line.
The illustrations for this book, provided by the multi-talented Daid Diaz, work exceedingly well. The thick heavily stylized drawing style of Diaz is contrasted with a kind of multi-media pairing with photographs. If you've ever read Kathleen Krull's remarkable, "Wilma Unlimited" then you'll know what I'm talking about. For example, when we see Mrs. Kim unhappily trying to stop people from stealing her store's goods, the photograph behind the illustration is a sidewalk covered in scattered dry goods. Underneath the nuts and dried fruits you can just make out the childlike chalk drawings, possibly made earlier in the day. Tiny impossible details like this one fill the text. It's remarkable.
Some people may feel this book is racist because it doesn't explain the motivations behind the rioters. Well, it does mention the anger the rioters feel but to a child the simple fact that people are stealing from one another is a bad thing. Also, I might point out that Daniel and his mother are black. If you find racism in this book, it's probably because you hope to find it.
What I suggest is this: First, read this book to yourself. Think it through. Ponder it a couple times. Then read it to your child/children. Let them think it through. Let them ponder it a couple times. Then read it together to get the full flavor of the text. Answer the children's questions. Try to find answers that are honest but not too upsetting. Then, when they've gone to bed, read it book one more time to yourself. Savor it. Go to bed yourself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It promotes racism and divisiveness while glorifying rioting and vadalism.Read more