Ages 4^-8. "The sun falls. Darkness rises." >From seven at night until seven the following morning, while you're sound asleep in your bed, the city stays wide awake--dancing, cleaning, fire fighting, baking, and more. With an urban backdrop that looks as if the architect of record were Piet Mondrian, Wellington's graphically arresting and gorgeously colored double-page spreads depict a different activity for each succeeding hour. The text, in describing the evening events, doesn't try to compete with the illustrations, but is nevertheless artful in its own understated right. Cleverly tying the entire episodic progression together are a striped cat and a bevy of mice that turn up in each spread--sometimes in unlikely places! Look closely for them and for the timepiece discreetly placed in each picture to proclaim the hour. And for art lovers, there's even more sly fun in the details: a cookie looks like a painter's palette, homages to Munch and Mondrian hang on walls, a sky and a bed are borrowed from van Gogh, etc. Like the 10 o'clock painter depicted in the book, Wellington "paints what she sees with her eyes--and with her imagination." As a result, this surprising book grows more satisfying with each rereading. Michael Cart
From Kirkus Reviews
A prose portrait of the city at night shows all the things that go on while a little girl sleeps. The city's ``soaring towers glow. Its people work--no matter what the hour.'' It is obvious that Wellington is in love with big-city living, using its many facets in one fascinating night. Dancers rehearse, firefighters put out blazes, the staff cleans an office building, an artist goes to work in her studio, a night watchman makes his rounds at a museum in just a few of the congenially depicted scenes. Dark backgrounds make Wellington's characteristic dots and squares of color glow, while her familiar mice and cats frolic through every scene. The text imparts plenty of information, offering windows on new worlds for children; all the while the little girl sleeps, secure in her vital, vibrant home town. (Picture book. 4-8) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.