At Night
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At Night

4.3 3
by Jonathan Bean

On some nights, a snug bedroom is a hard place to fall asleep. On some nights, it's better to get away from slumbering, snoring family members and curl up alone with one's 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

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On some nights, a snug bedroom is a hard place to fall asleep. On some nights, it's better to get away from slumbering, snoring family members and curl up alone with one's 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 GlobeHorn Book Award for Picture Books.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“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 Children's Books

“Such a simple story, such a lovely one.” —Globe and Mail

Publishers Weekly

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. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Barbara Carroll Roberts
There is a sheen of wonder and magic in this little gem of a book that defies its simplicity. Bean has managed to create text that is both barebones spare and beautifully cadenced, as well as illustrations that both exude the nighttime quiet of a sleeping family and breathe with the energy of a wide-awake little girl. Parents of children who are nighttime wanderers may not want to choose bedtime to share this gentle tale of a child who prefers the wide open skies of her family's rooftop garden to her own cozy bedroom. But this lovely book deserves a place in every preschooler's basket of well-loved favorites. This is the first book Bean has written and illustrated, promising great things to come. Reviewer: Barbara Carroll Roberts
School Library Journal

This quiet book tells the story of a city girl who can't sleep. When she feels a breeze blow in through her open window, she gathers pillows, her blanket, and the family cat and follows the wind up to the roof of her building. She doesn't realize that her mother is also awake and is trailing her up the stairs. On the rooftop, the child snuggles into a bed made of two chairs pulled together and contemplates the wide world and the open sky, eventually falling asleep. The final scene shows her mother, sitting next to her and thoughtfully gazing at the full moon. The watercolor illustrations, some full-page, some panels, perfectly depict the shadows, darkness, and light of the slumbering city. The volume's small size makes it most appropriate for sharing one-to-one.
—Ieva BatesCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Small in both size and concept, this sweet, gentle story is perfectly constructed and balanced. A girl is awake in her room; her parents and siblings are asleep, but she's lying there thinking. A breeze beckons her, so she-and the cat-bring pillows and blankets up to the building's rooftop. She makes herself cozy amid the hanging laundry and the geraniums, "in the night, under the sky. . . . [and] thought about the wide world all around her and smiled." As she sleeps, readers see her mom, who had heard her stir from bed, sit down beside her up on the roof. Bean's warmly composed pictures of a Brooklyn brownstone are all in deep browns and sepias; the rooftop opening to the river and the sky are in the hazy grays and blues of urban summer nights. The child, her siblings and her mother all have long dark hair; Dad's is curly and lighter. Mom's fuzzy peach robe and dad's flannel shirt are pleasing foils to the solid dark furniture and architectural accents that so suit the house. Quietly lovely. (Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.91(w) x 6.97(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

JONATHAN BEAN received an M.F.A. from New York's School of Visual Arts and now lives and works in Pennsylvania. His first book, At Night, won a 2008 Boston GlobeHorn 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 book Building Our House was published in January 2013 by Farrar Straus Giroux.

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At Night 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
LexyLumpia More than 1 year ago
What this book seems to (perhaps purposefully) lack in verbal form it definitely makes up in pictorial form, for it is a story of few, simple words and many, elaborate pictures. The reason for this may be to prompt children to focus less on what is written and more on what is drawn so that they might have beautiful dreams. With this approach, author and illustrator Jonathan Bean is able to create a tranquil mood that is perfect for restless little bodies and minds. Children are able to relate to the little girl who is having trouble going to sleep, and they might eventually find rest as she does after also realizing the serenity of the world that surrounds them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One night in the city a mother and father put their children to bed and say their goodnights, but one lies wakeful. In her dark room she lay thinking, and unable to sleep. The girl notices a breeze coming from her window, then across the floor, and follows it up the stairs. Not knowing her mother is following her, the little girl with blankets and pillow in-hand heads to the rooftop. The little girl finds comfort on the rooftop with a makeshift bed, consisting of two chairs pushed together, and falls asleep. Author and Illustrator Jonathan Bean sets a calming mood and soothing tone in this 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Award winning children's picture book. The diction used in this work creates serenity with the description of the siblings breathing as quiet and the air as a cool breeze. The labeling of the two rooftop chairs as "her bed" is a literary symbol for the comfort and relaxation to what is traditionally felt in a cozy bedroom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago