cover image Night Lunch

Night Lunch

Eric Fan, illus. by Dena Seiferling. Tundra, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7352-7057-2

“Clip, clop, a midnight moon./ The night lunch cart rolls in.” Spare, incantatory lines by Fan (Lizzy and the Cloud) lay down a soothing rhythm for this nocturnal idyll. Every night, a horse-drawn lunch wagon travels slowly through a darkened city, providing an array of animals—cats, foxes, possums, even a luna moth—with tasty midnight meals. Coffee, mince pie, sausages and peppers, butter rolls and biscuits; each creature gets what it wants. The toque-wearing owl who runs it says little, its energy instead devoted to cooking and serving food (“Crack, crack, a dozen eggs—/ sizzling in the pan”). Via the glow of streetlamps, the luminous moon, and the cart’s twinkling light, Seiferling (The Language of Flowers) theatrically illuminates the nighttime action, portrayed in scratchy, sepia-toned art. But who is the tiny creature sweeping trash into the gutter? It’s a small, hungry mouse. When the owl realizes the rodent’s plight, it invites the mouse to share undreamed-of bounty, and take a bag of food to go—not only sparing its traditional prey, but nourishing it, in this memorable vision of a peaceable kingdom. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. Illustrator’s agent: Jackie Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists. (Sept.)