By Jessie Hartland
Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2007
Late at night when the owls are out and the raccoons are diving into trash cans, and 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, there are people out there awake doing all sorts of interesting things…
This book is the closest my kids are going to get to pulling an all-nighter — for several years, at least. Author-illustrator Jessie Hartland (who used to design window displays for Barneys) introduces you to the magical people who work while the rest of us sleep. There’s the street sweeper, the zookeeper, the bridge painters, and a host of nocturnal others. Hartland’s paintings are punchy and fun. (The donut maker makes broccoli nut donuts, and the radio DJ looks like a cross between Eric Bogosian and Howard Stern.) The last page is lovely: as the sun rises, all the workers of the book — and one ocelot — gather at a clean, well-lighted place to share coffee.