The Night Gardener by Terry Fan, illustrated by Eric Fan

Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers 

Summary:  Even before the title page, we see that Grimloch Lane looks a lot like it sounds, brown and dreary, populated with sad-looking people.  But wait, is that a man pruning a tree?  What is he doing?  Then the story begins.  William, looking through his window at the Grimloch Orphanage, hears a commotion. Running out the door, he discovers a giant owl has been cut into a tree.  As the days go by, trees are transformed into an elephant, a rabbit, a parrot, and then, the masterpiece, a two-tree dragon.  With each new creation, more townspeople come together and find reasons to celebrate.  At the end of the day of the dragon, William sees an unfamiliar figure in the streets, carrying a ladder and some pruning shears.  The man sees him, and the two of them work through the night to create a forest of animals.  Eventually, the leaves change colors and fall off the trees, and the animals are gone, but the town and William are never the same.  48 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  This simple story has a beautiful message, and the illustrations are worthy of Caldecott consideration.

Cons: This book has the same title as a very creepy book from a couple of years ago.  Make sure you don’t mix them up if you plan to read this aloud to a bunch of five year-olds.

One thought on “The Night Gardener by Terry Fan, illustrated by Eric Fan

  1. I love this book! I already have it on my shelf! I love the pictures and the message! Thanks Jan for your kids book reviews! I love them… Even when the wallet is on empty!

    Like

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