Hesse's poetic, calm text is matter-of-fact in conveying the love between parent and child and the bonding occurring through their shared work. Karas' mixed-media illustrations, employing a soft focus and a muted, nighttime palette, help to relay this bond as well as the excitement of riding on the back of a motorcycle at night...An endearing story conveying a satisfying sense of a job well done.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Hesse captures a hushed, childlike wonder at a boy’s father’s evening custodial job, while Karas’s quiet, powerful illustrations command a palette of grays and play with illumination to emphasize the details: an orange basketball, the green library sofa, or the brightness of the dream ocean in the book’s last spread. Simultaneously muted but alive with detail, this title offers an extraordinary glimpse into an endearing father-son relationship, a livelihood, and an ordinary life. Recommended for all picture book shelves.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
A young boy relates his experiences accompanying his father, a school custodian, to work in this eloquent, lovely picture book...Karas' charming, fine-lined artwork, in panels and full-page spreads, uses a soft, muted palette as well as careful shadows and light to highlight both their nighttime routine and the sweet affection of a special father-son relationship. Quiet, warmhearted, and endearing.
—Booklist (starred review)
Karas’ mixed-media art has his familiar grainy colored pencil lines and cozy homemade flair; the play with light is particularly impressive, as doorways and lamps softly spill light areas into the slatey night that gradually warms to a taupey morning. An intoxicating blend of special adventure and one-to-one Dad time, this would be an interesting partner to Phi’s father-son outing in A Different Pond (BCCB 9/17).
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
With lyrical narration and elegant, evocative artwork, Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse and illustrator G. Brian Karas share the nighttime experience of a father and child.
When the sun sets, Dad’s job as a school custodian is just beginning. What is it like to work on a Friday night while the rest of the city is asleep? There’s the smell of lilacs in the night air, the dusky highway in the moonlight, and glimpses of shy nighttime animals to make the dark magical. Shooting baskets in the half-lit gym, sweeping the stage with the game on the radio, and reading out loud to his father in the library all help the boy’s time pass quickly. But what makes the night really special is being with Dad. Newbery Medalist Karen Hesse’s quietly powerful story of a boy and his father is tenderly brought to life by G. Brian Karas in this luminous tribute to an enduring, everyday sort of love.