Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Night Running

Night Running

Spring 2008 Non-Fiction
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
Author: Elisa Lynn Carbone
Illustrator: E. B. Lewis
ISBN: 978-0-375-82247-6
Hardcover Price: $16.99
The dynamic of a boy and his trusty dog is a long-standing fixture in children's literature and film, but rarely does the relationship depict reality. Elisa Carbone's Night Running is a different sort of tale. Zeus, the canine star of this picture book, doesn't secretly speak human, or know how to play basketball, or fly, but his story is compelling nonetheless-in large part because it's true. In the late 1830s in what is now West Virginia, a young slave boy named James Smith dreamed of escaping the plantation and heading across the Ohio River to freedom. James initially planned to leave Zeus, his hunting dog, behind, but Zeus proved indispensable to him on his dangerous journey. Time and again the dog caught food for James, alerted him to danger, led him to water and in one instance even prevented him from receiving a brutal whipping at the hands of slave-catchers. Carbone's telling of this remarkable story doesn't downplay the perils of slavery and risks of escape, but her language is appropriate for elementary school readers. The illustrations by E.B. Lewis dramatically underscore the story and capture the bond between James and Zeus. This book is an excellent way to introduce the topic of slavery to young readers.
Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2008 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

Look for this product at:
Random House Children's Books/Knopf

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