Debut author John Sullivan has based the story of his picture book, Kitten and the Night Watchman, on real events from his life. Dedicated to “all the strays,” this sweet narrative follows a kind night watchman who waves goodbye to his family as the sun sets and heads to a construction site to work alone under deep blue skies. But he has a friend at the work site—a small homeless kitten to whom he carefully tends.
Sullivan writes in short sentences and puts to use a string of evocative similes like “the full moon shines like an old friend,” and “garbage trucks line up like circus elephants.” TaeeunYoo illustrates the moonlit shadows of backhoes that look like insects and an excavator shaped like a giraffe. The angles of the buildings and construction equipment are expertly juxtaposed with the round, soft curves of the kitten and the watchman, and Yoo’s use of light—from the moon, lamps, the man’s flashlight, etc.—is particularly effective in the dark palette.
In one moment, readers see the watchman resting at work, thinking of “his boy and girl, safe and asleep at home.” This offers young readers a glimpse into the ways in which their caretakers keep their safety in mind, even when apart from them.
At the end of Kitten and the Night Watchman, readers are introduced to a happy family who greets the watchman when he returns home with his new pet. Don’t miss the chance to share this tender story with a child in your life.