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These Books Belong to the Night

Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan
E  SUL  NEW BOOK
A night watchman hugs his family and goes to work, where he methodically makes his rounds through an empty construction site. His flashlight’s warm yellow beam illuminates the darkness: “He checks the doors. He checks the workshop.” Debut author Sullivan, who based the story on his own experience, illuminates the inner life of his character as well, using concise, poetic language. The watchman “thinks of his boy and girl, safe and asleep at home.” He’s alert to the beauty of the darkness, too: the big trucks’ fanciful-looking shadows (“A backhoe rises like a giant insect”), the full moon that “shines like an old friend,” the way the air fills with a sound of a train and then becomes still again. Most of all, he is kind: a stray gray kitten joins him on his rounds (“ ‘Back again?’ he asks”), and after worrying when it disappears, the watchman takes the kitten home to join his family. Yoo (Strictly No Elephants) sets a lovely mood, taking readers from sunset to dawn through washes of orange, pink, and blue, the watchman’s compassionate demeanor assuring them that all’s well. [from Publishers Weekly]

Night Job by Karen Hesse
E  HES  NEW BOOK
A little boy accompanies his single-parent father to his evening job as the custodian at a large middle school in this serene, evocative story.  The unnamed boy narrates the story in present tense as the pair ride together on the dad’s motorcycle over a bridge and past a bay to the empty school. At first the boy shoots baskets as his dad mops the floor of the gym, but later the child works alongside his father as they listen to a baseball game on the radio. They eat sandwiches in a courtyard together, and then the boy reads and naps on a couch in the library while his father continues cleaning. By daybreak they are back home, falling asleep snuggled up in a cozy recliner, both dreaming of riding the motorcycle together over the water of the bay. This little boy is only 5 or 6, but he’s a real help to his dad in packing up their lunch, assisting with his duties, and cleaning out their lunchbox when they return home. Hesse’s poetic, calm text is matter-of-fact in conveying the love between parent and child and the bonding occurring through their shared work. Karas’ mixed-media illustrations, employing a soft focus and a muted, nighttime palette, help to relay this bond as well as the excitement of riding on the back of a motorcycle at night. [from Kirkus Reviews]

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture
Author: 
Katiem