Night in the City

Holiday House/Neal Porter. Mar. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823452064.
PreS-K–It is nighttime, and as a black-haired boy is getting ready for bed, his dad is preparing for work. In this vivid city with a multicultural population, people with all types of occupations busy themselves watering plants, adjusting uniforms, lacing up boots, and kissing goodbye as they depart for work. Downing offers a picture book for preschoolers who appreciate multilayered themes. The art on one side highlights a city with multiple means of transportation and people performing varied activities. People are talking on the phone, running, and practicing the tuba. On the other hand, the book focuses on many jobs people perform at nighttime (a nurse tending to a child at a hospital, a baker mixing ingredients for bread, and a janitor and guard working at a museum). The art is set to portray sequential illustrations combined with full-page and whole-spread illustrations, offering additional pictorial clues about things happening at night and adding to the constant motion of a city that does not sleep. The lines of text are set to a small font that moves around, accompanying the watercolor and digitally touched colored pencil illustrations emphasizing shades of yellow and blue. The storyline is simple, but includes plenty of vocabulary words to enrich emerging readers.
VERDICT Like Katie Yamasaki’s Dad Bakes, this is a detail-oriented picture book about people who work a different shift in a world that looks a little different and has different rules; and like that book, this will spark curiosity and awe.

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