Saturday, May 9, 2015

Night Driving   
 By John Coy
 Illustrated by Peter McCarty

Vivid  descriptions of how the night transpires between a dad and a young son on a night time road trip.

Book Talk
The young boy narrates this story for us and the story is seen through his eyes and voice.  

The boy and his father are starting off to go to the mountains for a camping trip.  To get to the mountains (they are driving across the prairie), dad suggests that they drive at night, to avoid the heat of the day.  

The night provides all kinds of unusual and wonderful adventures for the two: driving towards a sunset,  mule deer on the side of the road in the dark, a full moon that allows driving without the headlights (for just a minute or two!) , the wondrous prairie sky at night illuminated with stars, the smell of dad’s coffee as he drinks to stay awake, the car word games they play to pass the time, the baseball game on the radio that eventually fades out (somehow there is always country music!), stopping at a bad smelling outhouse!

Woven into the evening are tender moments of storytelling by dad, stories of a grandfather that the boy can’t remember and stories of dad when he was a little boy.

The author does a brilliant job of describing the close, intimate moments between father and son on this special night time trip to the mountains and their camping spot.

A favorite line:
As he looks ahead, my dad tells stories about when he was a boy.  I look at is face hard and try to imagine what he was like.  Behind him, the sky is black. In front of us, it’s purple. ‘These summer sunsets on the prairie seem to last forever,’ (dad says).”

Illustrations by Peter McCarty are beautifully done in soft black,white and gray and indicate that the story takes place probably in the early to mid 1950s.

Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Realistic Fiction
Reading Workshop strategies: Connecting, Visualizing, Inferring, Questioning, Fluency
Writing Workshop genre: Personal Narrative, Small moment, Memoir
Grammar: Sentence structure
Curricular Themes: Families

John Coy's website:
Peter McCarty's website:

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