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Author: Hesse, Karen
Illustrator: Karas, G. Brian
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Year Published: 2018
ISBN: 9780763662387
Grades: K-6

Night Job

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A special bond and loving relationship between a boy and his father is the central theme of this new picture book for young children by Karen Hesse.  Hesse has used free verse in her novels (“Out of the Dust”), and there is a distinct lyrical quality to the prose in this story (e.g. “He opens the door, and the building sighs. Come, it whispers to us.”).  Told in the first person, in the boy’s voice and from his point of view, the reader experiences the night work of the father through the eyes of his son.  Because it is the weekend, the boy can accompany his father to the school where he is the night custodian, and help with the cleaning that goes late into the night.  Brain Karas’ illustrations capture the mood of the night time setting – the dark, sombre night scenery of the city; the quietly eerie, darkened hallways of the school; the hushed school library and gym.  They also capture the tender, shared moments of a loving relationship – helping each other, working together, sharing a meal, and time spent together.
Although it is not explicit, we get the sense that this is a single parent family where finding time for each other is often a challenge.  This is an endearing story of making the best of that limited time by sharing simple tasks and just being with each other.

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