Synopses & Reviews
On some nights, a snug bedroom is a hard place to fall asleep. On some nights, its better to get away from slumbering, snoring family members and curl up alone with ones thoughts in the cool night air, under wide-open skies. In this charming bedtime fantasy, a sleepless city girl does just that, finding her surprising way to a serene rooftop version of a backyard campout.
With captivating ink-and-watercolor illustrations and a simple, lyrical text, newcomer Jonathan Bean has created a soothing bedtime story that is sure to charm children and parents alike.
At Night is the winner of the 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Picture Books.
"Bean (The Apple Pie That Papa Baked; reviewed below) creates almost magical rhythms in this pitch-perfect story. As the opening pages describe bedtime at the main character's urban house ('At night, after her brother and sister went to bed/ long after her parents whispered 'Good night, happy dreams!' and went to sleep'), square watercolor panels move from scenes in the emptying hallway and into the girl's room. There, readers learn, she lies 'AWAKE,' and the blank space surrounding the single, jarring word contains all the feeling in the close-up of the girl's face, seen for the first time on the opposite page. The plot is so quiet it would escape a lesser writer: lured by a breeze, the girl brings pillows and bedding up to the roof, followed by her cat (and, unbeknown to her, by her mother). Bean makes a visual poetics of this concept as the square panels now yield to full-spread illustrations. The artist supplies luminous aerial scenes of the roof garden amid a friendly, well-lit cityscape, then zooms out for more panoramic views ('She thought about the wide world around her and smiled'). His eye returns to rest on an image of the girl and her cat, comfortable at last in an improvised bed, at home in the world. The story breathes reassurance and adventure at the same time just in case, after the girl has fallen asleep, the mother appears by her side. Ages 4-8." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
“What beautiful work! It is one of those books that makes me feel excited about picture books all over again.” —Sue Truesdell, illustrator of Chicken Said, “Cluck!”, a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book
“Mixes a touch of whimsy with a meditative sense of calm. The spare sentences have a lulling rhythm that echo the words soothing references to breath and breeze, while the silvery, ink-and-watercolor pictures add a quiet drama.” —Starred, Booklist
“Perfect reading for a warm night.” —Starred, The Horn Book
“This sweet, gentle story is perfectly constructed and balanced . . . Quietly lovely.” —Starred, Kirkus Reviews
“Bean creates almost magical rhythms in this pitch-perfect story.” —Starred, Publishers Weekly
“The watercolor illustrations . . . perfectly depict the shadows, darkness, and light of the slumbering city.” —School Library Journal
“The text has a quietly lulling cadence . . . that his highly suitable to a nighttime read.” —Bulletin of Center for Childrens Books
“Such a simple story, such a lovely one.” —Globe and Mail
In this charming bedtime fantasy, a sleepless city girl finds her way to a serene rooftop version of a backyard campout. With captivating illustrations and a simple text, newcomer Bean delivers a soothing bedtime story. Full color.
At Night is the 2008 winner of the Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Picture Books.
About the Author
JONATHAN BEAN received an M.F.A. from New Yorks School of Visual Arts and now lives and works in Pennsylvania. His first book, At Night, won a 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and he is also the illustrator of two acclaimed picture books by Lauren Thompson, The Apple Pie That Papa Baked and One Starry Night. His new book, Building Our House, will be published in January 2013 by Farrar Straus Giroux.