cover image Night Shift Daddy

Night Shift Daddy

Eileen Spinelli. Hyperion Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0495-5

Spinelli (When Mama Comes Home Tonight) and debut artist Iwai inventively turn the tables in this winning bedtime book about a girl whose father works while she sleeps at night. Both art and text set a joyful opening scene, as the child's day winds down and her father gears up for work; a painting shows the man swinging his daughter up in the air in a yolk-colored kitchen, then settling in to read to her and her teddy bear. Together they look out the window onto the urban street belowDshaded by the fading winter light but still bustling with activityDbefore he tucks her in. The girl then steals to the window to watch her father wait at the bus stop below. With a narrative as quietly poetic as a snowfall (""He doesn't know I watch him go/ into the cold, the dark, the snow""), the story has a powerful cumulative effect. The artwork continues to build the relationship between father and daughter, even during the hours the two are separated: the quilt on the girl's bed extends across the book's gutter to form the checkered floor that her father sweeps while she slumbers. In the morning, her father returns in time for her to read him a story and tuck him in, and, in a final poignant vignette, Iwai shows the father's view from the window as he gazes down on his daughter, strolling down the sidewalk with her mother. Ages 4-7. (Apr.)