Fan, Terry and Eric Fan. Night Gardener, The. Picture Book. Simon & Schuster, 2016. pp. $17.99. 978-1-4814-
3978-7. OUTSTANDING. GRADES K-2.
Grimloch Lane is a sad gray place where downhearted people trudge home past the 1930s cars. An orphan boy named William draws an owl in the dirt as an old man with a ladder and gardening shears passes. The night gardener creates topiaries out of trees. The simple act of art brings color to this diverse population and enhances people’s lives by giving them a sense of community. Like the effect of Christo’s art on natural settings, once the art is gone, the memory of it still brings a sense of delight that binds the community. The graphite and digitally-colored illustrations are rich in line and detail. The anticipation that awaits the turning of the page adds to the sense of wonder. It’s not a unique story. It’s the art and the calm nature of the telling that delivers an impact.
David Howd, Berkeley Public Library