cover image Night Shift

Night Shift

Jessie Hartland, . . Bloomsbury, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-59990-025-4

As readers are toddling off to bed, or as “you are finishing up the last bit of chocolate pudding and then brushing your teeth and wishing you didn’t have to go to bed just yet,” others are just getting started. Hartland (Clementine in the City ), playing an irrepressible naïf-cosmopolitan, checks in with 14 different kinds of nighthawks, from the museum security guard to the window dressers at a chic department store. What’s more, the after-dark citizenry is one big happy family: the donut maker sells a big box of donuts to the fisherman, who runs aground but gets rescued by the tugboat captain, and everybody is a customer of the benevolent waitress who presides at the all-night café (the zookeeper even brings along an ocelot on a leash). Working in a style that recalls Maira Kalman’s, Hartland packs her engagingly giddy pages with wry tributes to the eclectic rhythms and people in the urban after-hours scene. She also clearly believes that cats and dogs have as much claim on this landscape as their human counterparts, and readers will get a bang out of spotting all the ways they make a home in the big city. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)