Review: Night Walk

Author: Sara O’Leary
Illustrator: Ellie Arscott
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Ages 3-5

A little girl has a hard time falling asleep one night. Her father, uncharacteristically, invites his daughter to take a walk with him through their urban neighborhood, leaving behind her baby brother, older sister, and mom – “who likes to watch movies with her eyes shut.”

As they meander the streets the little girl marvels at how many people are out and about, and how much life is lived while she is normally asleep! What a revelation for a young child!

While the soft and lyrical writing in this book is sparse, the illustrations really fill out the details. Our protagonist gets glimpses of her neighbors through lit windows. Vignettes of life that are otherwise hidden. The book showcases the diversity of urban life, depicting a variety of homes (houses, apartments, etc), people with different body types, and varieties of races and cultures throughout the book, in sharp contrast it seems, to the father’s upbringing in a rural area where he could, “walk for miles without seeing another house or neighbor.”

This prompts the little girl to reflect on how all the little pieces, known and unknown, all her neighbors are what contribute to her sense of belonging to this space, and also, this space belonging to HER!

The book ends abruptly. Maybe O’Leary is hoping that the reader’s child, also struggling to sleep, has dozed off. The sparse text certainly lends this book to being a great bedtime read, unless of course, it will prompt your kid to want to jump out of bed and go for a nighttime walk! Either way, this is a lovely book, with beautiful artwork about belonging and home.

Night Walk (Amazon)*
Night Walk (Support an Independent Bookstore)*

My thanks to Groundwood Books for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.

More books for this Age Group can be found here.

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