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- ISBN-13: 9781481439787
- ISBN-10: 1481439782
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: February 2016
- Page Count: 48
- Reading Level: Ages 4-8
- Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.8 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-11-16
- Reviewer: Staff
Brothers Terry and Eric Fan set their first story in a dreary town and imagine what happens when it is transformed by a gardeners skill. William, an orphan, sits glumly in front of his orphanage scratching an owl in the dirt as a stranger walks by. After dark, readers see the stranger at work with his shears in a tree in front of the building. In the morning, the mans artistry is revealed: the tree has been shaped into an owl like the one William has drawn. The town, initially rendered in gray pencil, shows a blush of color as people gather to marvel: Something was happening on Grimloch Lane. Something good. A topiary parrot appears, an elephant, a magnificent dragon; townspeople of varying ages and ethnicities rejoice, and the spreads take on livelier hues. One night, William spots the gardener, follows him, and gets a topiary lesson. Though the gardener leaves soon after and the trees revert to normal as the seasons change, the town thrives, as will William, it seems clear. A treat, with artwork worth lingering over. Ages 48. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (Feb.)
A neighborhood secretly transformed
The Fan Brothers make their picture-book debut with a whimsical story bursting with hope and innovation.
Everything about Grimloch Lane is unspectacular. Among its uncreative residents is a young boy named William, who one day discovers that a tree outside the orphanage where he lives has been magnificently altered into an owl. William and his neighbors are delighted with the daily additions of marvelous topiaries that grace the once-lackluster street. While the neighborhood celebrates the most outstanding piece—a dragon—William spies the Night Gardener and follows him into Grimloch Park, where the two work side-by-side through the night, shaping the park’s many trees. What follows is a marvelously inspiring transformation, especially in the life of one young lad.
Terry and Eric Fan have produced an exceptional story of awakening, set during the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Readers will discover a truly magical world in these eye-catching scenes rendered in graphite, pen, ink and watercolor. Intricately designed, vintage-style spreads incorporate light and well-balanced text, and the slow transition from drab scenes to ones replete with brilliant hues breathes life into the story of an orphan boy and his serendipitous encounter with the Night Gardener.
An inimitable work, The Night Gardener has the potential to become an award-winning book and an all-time classic.