Smoky Night by Eve Bunting

Title: Smoky Night

Author: Eve Bunting

Illustrator: David Diaz

Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Co

Published Date: 1994

This story is about Daniel. He and his mother are standing at their window looking out at the street. Without lights on in their apartment, they see rioters destroying everything on their street. Daniel doesn’t understand what is going on. His mother just hopes that they pass on and leave the people that live on the street alone. Daniel’s mother makes him go to sleep. He sleeps with his clothes on. He gets woken up. There is a fire. The apartments along the street have all been set on fire. Daniel is scared that his cat is trapped in the building and on their way out asks everyone, including the firemen, if they have seen his cat. They go to a shelter. The entire neighborhood seems to be at the shelter. People keep streaming in. And then one of the firemen comes into the shelter with two cats. One is Daniel’s and the other Mrs. Kim’s. The two cats have never gotten along. They drink from the same bowl. Everyone is shocked to see the two cats together. Daniel says something that changes the lives of all the residents. He tells them that the cats just didn’t know each other before. Daniel’s mom and Mrs. Kim plan on sitting down together.

At first I didn’t know what to make of this story. I didn’t know where it was going. I’m really happy that it ended the way it did. Never did the story say anything about the characters’ ethnicity. The only hint were the names. The same is with the illustrations. Everyone looked the same. No one was painted differently. The only thing you could tell was if they were children or adults. I loved the fact that there were real images as well as painted images. It made the situation more real. The message was great as well. If we got to know everyone of all ethnicities, then there would be no fighting. So true. Great book for kids and adults to read. It’s crazy cool how smart children can be and not even realize they’ve said something profound.

Happy Reading!

R

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