Cover image for Down the winding road
Down the winding road
Johnson, Angela.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : DK Ink, 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
The annual summer visit to the country home of the Old Ones, the uncles and aunts who raised Daddy, brings joy and good times.
General Note:
"A Richard Jackson book"--T.p. verso.
Reading Level:
AD 620 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.1 0.5 41000.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.8 1 Quiz: 25151 Guided reading level: K.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Jesse and his sister are city kids, so the journey into the country is amazing -- past sloe-eyed cows and emerald hills, under a cornflower sky. But the real treat waits at the end of the road: the Old Ones, the aunts and uncles of their father's youth who were old even then, who line up now to welcome their great-niece and -nephew, "looking and hugging just alike." After a vast country lunch, the Old Ones take the young to "the lake that they swam in when they were young -- and sit beside now that they are old." The kids don't sit. They find a tire swing, and before you know it, they are flying through the air and into the water, fully clothed and laughing. But it's the last day of summer vacation and suddenly time to leave. And there are the Old Ones lining up again -- all seven of them, waving good-bye, cherishing among them this newest family story for next year's reunion.

Author Notes

Angela Johnson was born on June 18, 1961 in Tuskegee, Alabama. She attended Kent State University and worked with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) as a child development worker. She has written numerous children's books including Tell Me a Story, Mama, Shoes like Miss Alice, Looking for Red, A Cool Moonlight and Lily Brown's Paintings. She won the Coretta Scott King Author's Award three times for Toning the Sweep in 1994, for Heaven in 1999, and for The First Part Last in 2004, which also won the Michael L. Printz Award. In 2003, she was named a MacArthur fellow.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-7. Every year on the last day of summer vacation the family drives down a winding road into the country to visit the Old Ones, the seven elderly aunts and uncles who raised Daddy. The Old Ones are waiting in the drive, "all in a row, looking just alike." There are hugs and memories to share, warm hands to hold, and wonderful food to savor. And then Jesse and his sister, the little girl who tells this lyrical story of family and reunion, take a long walk with the Old Ones. The children hear more memories and swim in the lake before it's time to go home. Johnson's language and selection of scenes are artfully simple and harmonize beautifully with Evans' full-and double-page oil paintings. Together they are a heartwarming celebration of the continuity of life, that merger of yesterday and today represented by large and loving families. --Michael Cart

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this tender picture book, Johnson (Gone from Home; When I Am Old with You) and Evans (Osceola; Shaq and the Beanstalk) pay tribute to an enviable treasure: wise and loving family elders. Every summer a girl and her brother and father drive "down the winding road" to the country, for a visit with the Old Ones, the seven aunts and uncles who raised Daddy. The Old Ones serve up a day filled with hugs, stories, memories, good times and good food that always ends too soon. And once the kids are on their way back to the city, they already miss the relatives with "creased faces and warm hands to hold." Carefully and rhythmically structured, the story unfolds in spare, evocative phrases that convey the child narrator's affection and win the readers' admiration. Evans's breezy oil paintings, featuring crisp greens and yellows, skillfully capture the sunny skies--and gentle smiles--of a special day in the country. Evans easily shifts perspective from close-up to far away, showing his brightly clad folk strolling with ease through their familiar, bucolic surroundings. The Old Ones' faces, textured to look both leathery and soft, beam with love. Ages 3-6. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-A young African-American girl describes her family's annual trip to the house of the Old Ones, her father's seven uncles and aunts who raised him. The text is a gentle, poetic, memory piece of family members so long together that they blend into a loving unit. The bold oil illustrations cut sharp, vibrant individuals but fail to extend the text. There are no answers in the pictures or the text should readers wonder why one aunt has her hair in rollers all day, which one is May, or how these people support themselves. Something went seriously wrong with the rendering of the Old Ones' white hair and/or beards; it looks like shaving cream or a really unfortunate wig choice. Water splashes also seem stark white atop a blue pond. Though the path that winds through the property has pleasing curves, the choice to leave the background totally white on one side of the path is not entirely successful. The text reads aloud nicely and could encourage discussion of older family members and extended families. The illustrations have merit in isolation but the oils overwhelm the fragile text. Johnson's followers and fans of Cynthia Rylant's more successful The Relatives Came (Bradbury, 1985) may want to add this offering.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.