Review: Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan

Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan

Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (9781481461917)

The night watchman heads out to his night of work. He works on a construction site, making sure that the doors are locked and the rooms are empty. He shines his flashlight near the broken trucks and startles a killdeer. He drinks his coffee under the shining stars and moon, thinking of his children at home asleep. Then a small kitten appears and joins the watchman for the rest of his rounds. They spot a jet in the sky, share dinner, and look at bugs. But then the kitten disappears and the watchman is left with only the sounds of the night around him. When the kitten returns, the watchman makes a decision to bring it home with him.

Beautifully told in a gentle and simple way, this picture book takes a poetic look at a job and a setting that is not usually given that treatment. The counterpoint of a construction site and the beauty that night lends it is very effective. As the quiet of the night progresses, it reveals so much that is hidden during the day. Birds, insects, and the kitten itself emerge from the darkness to be noticed and are made remarkable.

The artwork is filled with darkness and blues. Yet it is also lit by stars and the moon, and it is filled with beams from flashlights and lamps. These yellow streams of light lend brightness and illuminate the budding relationship of the watchman and the kitten with warmth.

Uniquely mixing construction, night and beauty, this picture book is something special. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.