- Age Range: 4 - 7 years
- Grade Level: Preschool and up
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; 1st edition (October 2, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1599900254
- ISBN-13: 978-1599900254
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 0.4 x 264.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,020,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Night Shift Hardcover – October 2, 2007
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About the Author
JESSIE HARTLAND is the author and illustrator of Clementine in the City and the illustrator of The Perfect Puppy for Me and Drawing with Scissors, both by Jane O'Connor. She designs ceramics, windows, and lots of other wonderful things. Jessie got the idea for Night Shift when she was decorating windows at Barney's many moons ago. She lives with her family in New York City and Bellport, Long Island.
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Top customer reviews
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Jessie Hartland is an exceptional storyteller, designer and illustrator. She weaves together colorful vignettes of the men and women who keep the city humming at night, some expected (freighter and tugboat captains, radio DJ, street sweeper, donut baker, and road worker) and some not (bridge painter, window dresser, fisherman, and zookeeper)!. The writing is a combination of (mostly) prose brightened with bits of poetry, although the prose is so rhythmic and sensual that I'd "elevate" it to "prose poetry":
"On a cool, dry night
bridge painters assemble
to climb the massive
At the tower's top
is an enormous nest:
a hawk with three eggs
are painted around.
Some paint drips down
but the traffic is light.
Not many cars out
so late at night.
Whose car gets
splattered passing under
a dripping bridge
at 1:00 am? [turn to the next page here]
That's the structure of the book: Several "stanzas" describing someone on the night shift, with a clever (and surprising smooth) transition to the next worker. However, night shift is unusual in it's attention to detail, selection of interesting, sometimes exotic characters, and the original look of the gouache illustrations--detailed, yet atmospheric, expansive, and uncluttered. The narrative above is depicted by oversized painters, hooked for safety, climbing the bridge, the night and the ocean suggested by broad strokes of deep blues, punctuated by city lights, billboards, and a small hawk family atop one tower.
The situations and workers should appeal to both genders, and Hartland brings some humor and whimsy to all this serious night time work. The donut baker, for example, posing in front of a silly-looking contraption with a smiling (and a hungry-hopeful cat nearby) has lots of donut decisions:
Which one will she sample
on her 4:00 am break?
Hartland brings all these colorful night shift workers together for breakfast at the place where the night meets the day--a 24-hour diner. And just outside, refreshed from a calm and restful sleep, we see the kids briefly introduced at the story's beginning ("wishing [they] didn't have to go to bed just yet"), walking by on their way to school.
In sum, "Night Shift" exhibits a superb blend of design, structure, story, writing, and illustration, and I recommend it with great enthusiasm.