The Night Worker

Overview

Going to the job site with Dad

When darkness falls and bedtime comes, Papa tucks Alex in, then puts on his hard hat and goes to work. Papa is an engineer who works at night. "Take me with you," Alex says. "Not tonight," says Papa. But one night Papa has a surprise — a hard hat for Alex! He takes Alex with him to the construction site, where excavators rumble and cement mixers hum. As his dream comes true, Alex gets to be a night worker just like Papa. Kate Banks's evocative text...

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Overview

Going to the job site with Dad

When darkness falls and bedtime comes, Papa tucks Alex in, then puts on his hard hat and goes to work. Papa is an engineer who works at night. "Take me with you," Alex says. "Not tonight," says Papa. But one night Papa has a surprise — a hard hat for Alex! He takes Alex with him to the construction site, where excavators rumble and cement mixers hum. As his dream comes true, Alex gets to be a night worker just like Papa. Kate Banks's evocative text and Georg Hallensleben's colorful paintings combine to make a unique bedtime book that will delight all children, especially those who are fascinated by big machines.

 

The Night Worker is a 2001 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Alex wants to be a "night worker" like his father who goes to work at a construction site after Alex goes to bed.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] sublime evening story . . . Banks' elegant, simple words and poetic images and rhythms evoke the book's exciting activity . . . Hallensleben's paintings extend the story's balance of exhilarating intensity and reassuring calm . . . A lovely, affecting portrait of a father and son and of the night world." -Starred, Booklist

"The pictured warmth of the father-son relationship combines with restrained yet poetic text to make this 'take your son to work night' a special one indeed." —Kirkus Reviews

"A mesmerizing description of a busy nighttime realm, illuminated by blazing headlights and framed by silent skyscrapers." —Starred, Publishers Weekly

Sesame Street Parents
In this magical story about a construction site at night, an engineer takes his son Alex to a light-bathed place where people and machines are hollowing out the earth in preparation for a new building. The simple, poetic text and rich pictures capture a steel shovel as it pushes soil into a mid-night mountain and an excavator as it sinks its teeth into the earth and lets out a groan like a giant rolling over in bed. Finally, Alex gets a chance to climb into the cab of a front-loader and help empty its dirt into a dump truck. Then he heads back into the night with his loving dad, ready for home and bed.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Banks and Hallensleben, whose And If the Moon Could Talk prepared children for a calm night's sleep, stay up long past bedtime in this absorbing after-hours expos . Unlike Eileen Spinelli and Melissa Iwai's Night Shift Daddy (Children's Forecasts, May 8), in which a father works while his daughter rests, this account features a boy who accompanies his engineer father to an urban construction site: "And while Mama sleeps, Alex and Papa head quietly into the night." For one special evening, Alex wears a small red hard hat to match his father's big yellow one. He stands next to his father as a cement mixer and crane prepare the foundation for a city building. He even rides in a tractor to load dirt into a dump truck, before his father takes him home again. Hallensleben conveys the father and son's mutual pride and affection. Alex observes the workplace with alert brown eyes and a self-possessed half-smile; some compositions allow readers a look over Alex's head and down into the thrilling depths of a subterranean pit. The richly tactile, softly glowing paintings complement the solemn prose. Banks evokes the machinery's awesome strength and noisy engines as well as the quiet at break time: "All motion is stopped like a held breath." A mesmerizing description of a busy nighttime realm, illuminated by blazing headlights and framed by silent skyscrapers. Ages 2-6. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature
Construction sites are always of interest to youngsters, with their fascinating sounds, huge equipment and constant motion. Papa, the night worker, is an engineer who always goes to the job when it is time for Alex to go to sleep. How exciting it is when Alex is finally invited to come along and taste the mysteries of his father's life! The illustrations are warmly dark with vivid brush strokes that somehow convey a great sense of trust throughout what could have been a daunting experience to a young child. Alex will never forget his first "take your child to work" night, and neither will the readers of this book, which has a reverse classic ending: going to sleep as dawn breaks. 2000, Farrar Straus Giroux/Frances Foster Books, Ages 3 to 8, $16.00. Reviewer: Judy Chernak
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-The mysterious world of a father's nighttime work is explored in a loving, gentle manner, making it perfect for sharing. Alex's dad is an engineer who goes to work when the rest of the city goes to bed. Donning a hard hat, the boy joins him on the construction site one evening and is fascinated by the cranes, dump trucks, and cement mixers. These machines take on mythic proportions in the darkness: the excavator "sinks its teeth into the earth and lets out a groan like a giant rolling over in bed," a bulldozer "pushes soil into a midnight mountain." The illustrations have an impressionistic quality; bright yellow stars "shine like beacons for the night workers" against the deep blues of the sky.-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The team behind And If the Moon Could Talk (1998) relates what happens one night when Alex achieves his wish to go to work with Papa, a nighttime engineer on a construction site. Donning their hard hats, the two "men" leave quietly so Mama can sleep. They see other night workers—street sweeper, deliveryman, policewoman—as they head for the site, where "stars shine like beacons for the night workers." Alex waves back at the giant, airborne arm of an excavator, hears a cement mixer hum as it pours foundation concrete, watches a crane move its heavy load overhead, then gets exciting hands-on experience driving a yellow loader. At break, when "all motion is stopped like a held breath," it's time for a weary boy to head home through still more night people—couple under a streetlight, woman walking her dog—and go to bed, where his dreams expand his night's experience. This may be nighttime, but you wouldn't guess it from the golden light flooding most of the full-bleed, full-spread illustrations, in which objects—including the machines beloved by little boys—are outlined in black so that vibrant hues are separate and distinct under harsh, artificial, nighttime light. The pictured warmth of the father-son relationship combines with restrained yet poetic text to make this "take your son to work night" a special one indeed. (Picture book. 2-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374400002
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 2/20/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 539,449
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.42 (w) x 10.06 (h) x 0.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Author Kate Banks and illustrator Georg Hallensleben have collaborated on several books, including And If the Moon Could Talk, winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, The Cat Who Walked Across France, Baboon, and Close Your Eyes. Banks lives in the South of France with her husband and two sons. Hallensleben lives in Paris.

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