Several weeks ago, I was upset that the news carried stories about devastation from hurricanes, but not the wildfires in Montana. This week fires have destroyed beautiful parts of California, and people are left with nothing. Today for my “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?” self-assignment, I revisited Smoky Night, by Eve Bunting. It seemed appropriate. 

Smoky Night surrounds Daniel, his Mama, and his cat on the night of a fire that displaced tenants of an apartment building. It’s a scary night, a sad night, and yet a night of meeting and taking care of one’s neighbors when there is need. People were rioting in the streets, stealing from Morton’s Appliances, and throwing items from Fashion Shoes. It’s chaos, and yet Eve Bunting allows the reader to feel hopeful as firefighters arrive, as the neighbors met at the church hall, which transformed to a shelter, and as the tenants became friends.

Another reason I read Smoky Night again was to recapture the magic of picture books, especially Caldecott Award winners from the past. This book won a Caldecott Medal in 1995, and it is just as timely today. Viewing the matches at the opening, to the splotches of paint, to the bubble wrap on page 4, to the leather shoe bottoms, to the fabric cut to look like flames, to…well, just look! It’s fascinating the art that went into this work of art.

If you find the time, read Smoky Night for yourself — for the first or fortieth time. You won’t be disappointed.

(Image courtesy of http://www.goodreads.com. My copy’s cover is worn out!)