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Night Job

by Karen Hesse

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-It's sunset on a Friday night, and a child narrator and his father head out on a motorcycle through the darkening city streets toward a school. Inhaling the scent of lilacs as they enter the school lot, the narrator poignantly explains, "We pull into our space./Dad hauls out a ring of keys/as big as the rising moon./He opens the door,/and the building sighs./Come, it whispers to us." The boy's father is the school's custodian, and, together, the father and son work their way from room to room in the half-light of gym, the cafeteria, the hallways, and the library. 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. VERDICT 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.-Brianne Colombo, Fairfield Free Public Library, NJ Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* A young boy relates his experiences accompanying his father, a school custodian, to work in this eloquent, lovely picture book. Atop a motorcycle, the two (wearing helmets) set off over the darkening bay, riding the dusky highway. Once there, the boy joins his father, from the gym ( I shoot baskets in the half-light, the ball's bounce mingling with the shoosh of Dad's broom ) to the cafeteria to the library, where the boy shares a book and then naps while his father finishes up. Eventually, they head home at sunrise, where sleep and dreams await. In lyrical language, Hesse vividly describes the details of what the father's job entails, all the while conveying the joy of spending time together, from helping clean We tack back and forth down the hallway, sweeping the school from stem to stern to taking a break in the courtyard and eating homemade sandwiches. It's clear from the pictures that the boy and his father aren't wealthy, but the matter-of-fact story instead focuses on adventuresome details of the work, from the motorcycle ride to the revered ring of keys to the baseball game on the radio. 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.--Shelle Rosenfeld Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Horn Book On Friday nights, a young boy accompanies his father to his job cleaning a school. While the book quietly highlights their loving bond, it is loud in its admirable message that not everyone's job or home life is the same. The poetic text combines with the mixed-media illustrations' inspired use of light throughout to create a dreamy atmosphere. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus 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. Father and son both present white, and both wear helmets.An endearing story conveying a satisfying sense of a job well done. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.