Kate Banks, author of today’s picture book, is a brilliant woman of depth, integrity and sensitivity, which comes across in her writing. She has written for children with great success for many, many years and is working on a very fascinating non-fiction book for adults and YA at the moment. Kate and her Italian husband live very locally to me, so I have had the privilege of getting to know her, and did a stimulating interview with her last year, which you can read here. I have already reviewed several of her books on this blog, but chose today’s with boys and educators in mind, for Perfect Picture Book Friday.
Written by Kate Banks, illustrated by Georg Hallensleben
Published by Farrar, Strauss, Geroux -2000
Themes: Construction workers, night, fathers & sons.
Night falls. Bedtime comes. Papa kisses Alex good night. Then he puts on his hard hat. He is an engineer. And he is a night worker. “Take me with you,” whispers Alex. “Not tonight,” says Papa.
But one night Papa does indeed take Alex with him to work. On their way they pass others who work at night, like the police and street sweepers. They arrive at the construction site and together they watch the various machines and employees at work: the foreman, bulldozer, excavator, cement mixer, crane, loader… here it becomes really exciting as Alex is aloud up into the cab with the loader’s driver and gets to push the levers – Alex is a night worker too! After a night of excitement, Alex pulls off his hard hat and puts on his pajamas drifting quickly into daytime sleep dreaming of being a night worker!
Why I like this book: Georg Hallensleben has illustrated several of Kate’s books and it is a great collaborative team. He uses warm, melting, subtle night tones which marry so well with Kate’s lyrical text to create a welcoming milieu despite the dark of the night and noise and harshness of the machinery. Children will be readily engaged in this night time activity and it is a super introduction to the many workers who travail while we are asleep. Children who love construction sites will be in their element reading and watching the distinct tasks of each machine. I love how a bulldozer’s task becomes poetry in Kate’s mouth:
He points to a bulldozer leveling the ground. Clouds rise from the dust as a steel shovel pushes soil into a midnight mountain.
Resources/Activities: I didn’t find any specific resources for this book, but suggest the following:
Brainstorming night jobs and art lesson based on this.
If child/ren possess construction toys they can reenact the story, having made their own hard hats to wear beforehand, of course!
To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books. Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays badge in the right sidebar.