Kitten and the Night Watchman – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: Kitten and the Night Watchman

Author: John Sullivan

Illustrator: Taeeun Yoo

 Publisher: Paula Wiseman Books, 2019

Ages: 3-7

Literary Awards Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for Writer (2019)

Themes: night watchmen, different jobs, worry, companionship. Kittens, belonging, comfort


The night watchman hugs his wife and kids and drives to work. 
All night he is alone. 
Every hour he makes his rounds.


Kitten and the Night Watchman is inspired by the true story of author John Sullivan meeting a stray cat while working as a night watchman. The cat, Beebe, was John’s companion for seventeen years.

Why I like this book:

A really gentle, empathetic story full of common feelings for young children (worrying about a new friend, relief, belonging) as the night watchman loses his new little night companion during some worrying moments in the middle of the story. It is also a great introduction to the lonely job of being a night watchmen. I love how the dad is given such caring gestures and thoughts: he gently catches a moth and releases it outside; he thinks of his children while working. Sullivan uses simple but poetic language creating strong imagery to describe the nightly routine.

Garbage trucks line up like circus elephants.

Yoo’s peaceful muted-tones artwork with cool shadow-play somehow creates a life and intimacy in this quiet construction site at night. This is the kind of understated story that stays with you a long while after reading. And, well, it is hard to go wrong with the adoption of an adorable stray kitten! A particular winner if you like construction equipment and/or kitties!


Pair With, Good Night, Good Night Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker & Tom Lichtenheld

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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6 Responses to Kitten and the Night Watchman – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Before I even read halfway through your review, I jumped over to my library page to put this sweetly written story on hold. I’m looking forward to both the story and illustrations. Many thanks for sharing this book for PPBF.

  2. Sarah Tobias says:

    I am so glad to see that this book is available at my library. I will have to run over and borrow it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Aw, this sounds so sweet. Plus it’s a brilliant concept to pair construction with cats. I’m going to put this one on my TBR pile. Thanks, Joanna, for the rec!

  4. What a great story! I am a sucker for cat/kitten stories and ones with heart. Such a great review, the book obviously touched you. Can’t wait to get it at my library.

  5. Patricia Nozell says:

    Just added this one to my request list at the library. Thanks for the recommendation & terrific review.

  6. Can’t wait to read this book – I am such a sucker for books about cats.

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