Hesse, Karen. Night Job. G. Brian Karas, Illus. Picture Book. Candlewick, 09/2018. pp. $16.99. 978-0-7636-6238-7. OUTSTANDING. GRADES K-2.
A young son joins his father for an overnight shift at his school custodian job. This story begins on the title page as boy and father (both light-skinned) pack snacks and leave their apartment. The boy describes their night from the motorcycle ride through the nighttime until they snuggle in their comfy recliner back home as the sun rises. Hesse’s depiction shows a sense of ritual to each action as the boy describes this special weekly tradition. Sensory descriptions submerge the reader as the boy describes the stinky fish they smell in the bay during their ride, the taste of the egg salad sandwiches they packed, and the sound of the father’s broom gliding along the school gym floor. The boy shows great affection for his father and a charming camaraderie as they clean the school together. Karas’ muted palette and use of shadow, glow, and spot light perfectly portray the high contrast of night. Illustrations vary in size from full spreads to small sequential panels, engaging the reader. Hesse and Karas create a beautiful, affectionate portrayal of a working-class single father and his loving son.
Lolade Gbadebo, Oakland Public Library