Night Walk by Sara O’Leary

Night Walk by Sara O’Leary
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When a little girl can’t sleep one night, her dad asks if she’d like to go for a walk. They tiptoe through the silent house and step out into the dark.

It’s strange and exciting to be out so late. Walking down the street, the girl can see inside the lit-up windows of apartment buildings and houses where people’s lives are unfolding. Kids are having a pillow fight in one house, while a family has gathered for a festive meal in another. She and her dad reach the still-busy shopping area, walking past restaurants and enticing store windows, then stop for a tranquil moment in the park before returning home.

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If falling asleep isn’t possible, it might be a good idea to get up and do something else for a while instead!

Some of my favorite sections were the ones that showed the main character’s reactions to the evening lives of the people in her neighborhood whom she normally saw under very different circumstances. For example, there was a local shop owner who often looked sad during the day when she sold snacks and other items to the community. What this woman’s life was like at night surprised both me and the protagonist. Children don’t always realize that people’s behavior can change in various parts of their lives, so it was lovely to see it explored here.

I did find the ending abrupt. An important part of the plot was never resolved by the final scene. While I can see an argument for the idea that readers were supposed to come up with our own ideas about how that played out, it still would have been helpful to have more direction there. This was something I’d expect to answer questions about if I were to read it to the little ones in my life.

There were some beautiful turns of phrases here that painted vivid images in my mind. For example, an early scene described the main character and her father walking past an “island of light” from a streetlamp and nearby house as they began their walk. These phrases were easy to understand but wonderfully poetic as well. I smiled every time I found a new one.

Night Walk was such a peaceful bedtime story.

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