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At Night

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

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

PreS-K
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

  • ISBN-13: 9787539429694
  • Publisher: Chang Jiang Wen Yi Chu Ban She/Tsai Fong Book
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Language: Chinese
  • Pages: 56
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

JONATHAN BEAN received an M.F.A. from Manhattan's School of Visual Arts in 2005 and now lives and works in New York City. At Night is the first book he has written and illustrated.

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