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With lyrical narration and elegant, evocative artwork, Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse and illustrator G. Brian Karas share the nighttime experience of a father and child.
When the sun sets, Dad’s job as a school custodian is just beginning. What is it like to work on a Friday night while the rest of the city is asleep? There’s the smell of lilacs in the night air, the dusky highway in the moonlight, and glimpses of shy nighttime animals to make the dark magical. Shooting baskets in the half-lit gym, sweeping the stage with the game on the radio, and reading out loud to his father in the library all help the boy’s time pass quickly. But what makes the night really special is being with Dad. Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse’s quietly powerful story of a boy and his father is tenderly brought to life by G. Brian Karas in this luminous tribute to an enduring, everyday sort of love.
About the Author
Karen Hesse is the author of numerous books for young people, including Out of the Dust, winner of a Newbery Medal and a Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction; The Cats in Krasinski Square; and Letters from Rifka. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellows Grant in 2002, Karen Hesse lives in Vermont.
G. Brian Karas has illustrated more than ninety children’s books, including two by Megan McDonald about Ant and Honey Bee; Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle; and Are You Going to Be Good? by Cari Best, a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year. G. Brian Karas lives in the Hudson Valley of New York.
Karas’s dusky paneled art gives a feel of enchantment and adventure as the boy sweeps floors, shoots hoops, reads and falls asleep while Dad finishes working. He’s added an extraordinary dignity and tenderness to this picture of working-parent reality and a loving, physically close father-son bond.
—The New York Times Book Review
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...An endearing story conveying a satisfying sense of a job well done.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Hesse captures a hushed, childlike wonder at a boy’s father’s evening custodial job, while Karas’s quiet, powerful illustrations command a palette of grays and play with illumination to emphasize the details: an orange basketball, the green library sofa, or the brightness of the dream ocean in the book’s last spread. Simultaneously muted but alive with detail, this title offers an extraordinary glimpse into an endearing father-son relationship, a livelihood, and an ordinary life. Recommended for all picture book shelves.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
A young boy relates his experiences accompanying his father, a school custodian, to work in this eloquent, lovely picture book...Karas' charming, fine-lined artwork, in panels and full-page spreads, uses a soft, muted palette as well as careful shadows and light to highlight both their nighttime routine and the sweet affection of a special father-son relationship. Quiet, warmhearted, and endearing.
—Booklist (starred review)
Karas’ mixed-media art has his familiar grainy colored pencil lines and cozy homemade flair; the play with light is particularly impressive, as doorways and lamps softly spill light areas into the slatey night that gradually warms to a taupey morning. An intoxicating blend of special adventure and one-to-one Dad time, this would be an interesting partner to Phi’s father-son outing in A Different Pond (BCCB 9/17).
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
What a great way to encourage families to spend time together, even if it is while working. This book could be used to open a conversation about community workers, father-son bonding, the different types of jobs people do, and how not everyone works during the day.
—School Library Connection
Night Job is, at first glance, a story about a boy and his father going to work. Unexpressed with words, and yet loudest of all, is its emotional undertone of love, companionship and admiration.
G. Brian Karas is at his best as he illuminates this evocative book with tender, simple illustrations...This quiet treasure is one of my favorites of this year.
—The Booklist Reader (blog)