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The Night Gardener by [Terry Fan, Eric Fan]

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The Night Gardener Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 752 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


BrothersTerry and Eric Fan set their first story in a dreary town and imagine whathappens when it is transformed by a gardener’s skill. William, an orphan, sitsglumly in front of his orphanage scratching an owl in the dirt as a strangerwalks by. After dark, readers see the stranger at work with his shears in atree in front of the building. In the morning, the man’s 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 tomarvel: “Something was happening on Grimloch Lane. Something good.” A topiaryparrot appears, an elephant, a magnificent dragon; townspeople of varying agesand ethnicities rejoice, and the spreads take on livelier hues. One night,William spots the gardener, follows him, and gets a topiary lesson. Though thegardener leaves soon after and the trees revert to normal as the seasonschange, the town thrives, as will William, it seems clear. A treat, withartwork worth lingering over. (Publishers Weekly *STARRED REVIEW* November 16, 2015)

"A treat, with artwork worth lingering over." (Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW )

GrimlochLane is a gray place where individuals trudge along wrapped in their ownthoughts, until a man carrying a ladder and tools enters their sphere. Clad inalmost-gray green—and seemingly unaware of the similarly attired boy drawing afeathered creature in the dirt—he proceeds to a nearby tree. After the moonlittitle page, morning breaks with narration that accompanies this child nowgazing in wonder from the orphanage window. A gigantic, familiar owl has beenformed from the tree's foliage. Ensuing evenings yield ever more amazingcreatures; color creeps into the scenes as neighbors gather in admiration andspruce up their dilapidated homes. (Both the night gardener and the boy arewhite, but the neighborhood is multiethnic.) The Fan brothers contrast creamy,uncluttered pages of daytime community life with magical forest-green eveningsthat culminate in an invitation to help. The pair's resulting leafy menageriein the park is rendered even more evocative when the page turn reveals theblazing deciduous trees dropping their sculpted shapes. But no matter—theneighborhood has been changed permanently, as has the boy. The finaldouble-page spread depicting the young man shaping his own playful topiary isan uplifting testament to the effect that a caring adult can have on a lonelychild. An economic text punctuated with commas, questions, and ellipses leadsreaders forward; highly textured graphite and deepening, digitally coloredcompositions surprise and delight. Visual pleasure abounds. (Picture book. 4-7) (Kirkus Reviews *STARRED* December 15, 2015)

Life on Grimloch Lane is, well, pretty grim until the morning William awakens in his home at the Grimloch Orphanage to discover that something marvelous has happened overnight: through topiary art, the tree on the street has been transformed into a giant owl! And that’s just the beginning. Each morning thereafter, a new topiary work appears: first, a cat, then a rabbit, then a parakeet, and finally the most magnificent masterpiece yet appears: a majestic griffin. Who is responsible for these marvels? That night, as William is about to head home, he spots a stranger and follows him. Could it be? Yes, it is the Night Gardener, and he asks William to help him. The next morning, the gardener is gone, but he has left William a life-changing gift. Though not quite life-changing itself, the Fan brothers’ quiet story is nevertheless invested with an element of agreeable magic that is underscored by their use of muted colors to evoke the mysteries of the night. It is a pleasing collaboration with art bound to both haunt and delight. — Michael Cart (Booklist January 1, 2016)

"It is a pleasing collaboration with art bound to both haunt and delight." (Booklist )

PreS-Gr 2–With spare text and asimple palette, The Night Gardener tells the story ofa depressed town’s transformation with the help of a nocturnal gardener. Thebook begins on Grimloch Lane, a street where every head hangs down and anorphan boy, William, is down in the dumps. A dapper elderly man with a greenleaf shining in his pocket passes him, and the magic begins. Every night, a newfantastical topiary appears in a tree on Grimloch Lane, to the neighborhood’sdelight. People begin playing outside, drawing, playing the tuba, and lookingup in wonder: it’s an urban planner’s delight. William gets to tag along onenight, and as the season changes, the work of creating community-revitalizingtopiaries is passed to him. The illustrations look like a more cheerful EdwardGorey, done with a blend of fine-tip ink and pencil work and watercolor, withthe night portrayed in pearly monochromatic blues. While most of the charactersare white, a few background characters wandering through the trees are peopleof color. VERDICT An elegant picture bookthat celebrates creativity and community; for first purchase. (School Library Journal *STARRED REVIEW* February 2016)

"An elegant picture book that celebrates creativity and community." (School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW )

“An uplifting testament to the effect that a caring adult can have on a lonely child…Visual pleasure abounds.” (Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW )

  There's magic in topiary--takingsomething free and alive like a tree and transforming it, with the snip ofsharp blades, into a dragon or elephant. More broadly, there's themagical-seeming power of art to surprise and delight and transform a community.

In this deeply lovely picture-bookdebut by Canadian author-illustrators Terry Fan and his brother Eric Fan, thereis one such maker of magic on the glum, rather monochromatic Grimloch Lane ofyesteryear: an older Asian gentleman who shapes trees into owls, cats andrabbits in the night while people are sleeping. One morning, a boy namedWilliam wakes up to a commotion. He looks out the orphanage window, then racesoutside to find a big tree shaped into an enormous owl. Each day after that,there is a new topiary creation to discover: "Something was happening onGrimloch Lane./ Something good." The Fan brothers capture the thrill ofstumbling upon something unknown and unexpected... something that is not magic,but feels like magic. The gorgeous graphite illustrations are exquisitelydetailed, and the greenish gray hues of the moonlit night scenes in particularevoke the hush of darkness, allowing readers to almost hear the NightGardener's steady scissor snips.

In the end, William spots thebespectacled topiary artist, with his ladder and tools, and becomes hisco-conspirator. As the whole town comes out to marvel at the elaborate, leafymenagerie they created, the previously muted artwork blooms into full color. Afterthe night gardener works his curious brand of magic, no one--not the town, notWilliam--is ever the same.
The Night Gardener is visual storytelling atits best.

Discover: The Night Gardener brings magic to Grimloch Lanewhen he shapes the trees into owls, dragons and rabbits while the villagerssleep. (Shelf Awareness, STARRED REVIEW 2/23/16)

The Night Gardener is visual storytelling at its best.” (Shelf Awareness, STARRED REVIEW )

Young William, along with the other residents of Grimloch Lane, is amazed when he wakes up one morning to find that the tree outside his window has been transformed into a stunning owl topiary. The next morning, another nearby tree
has been sheared into a cat shape; a rabbit, a parakeet, and a magnificent two-tree dragon follow, to the residents’ great delight. When William spots a stranger heading into the park one evening, he follows him, suspecting that this is the mysterious Night Gardener. The Night Gardener invites William to help him transform the park,and the result the following morning is splendid. As the seasons come and go,the topiaries lose their shape, but “the people of the small town were never the same”—including William, who is last seen creating a small fox topiary with the clippers given to him by the Night Gardener. The message about the transformative power of art (“Something was happening on Grimloch Lane. Something good”) is a powerful one, and the intriguing premise and graceful art are definitely captivating. The presence of a mysterious stranger and the impressive topiaries are reminiscent of Chris Van Allsburg’s imaginative works as well as Lane Smith’s
Grandpa Green. The delicately detailed illustrations, drawn in graphite and colored digitally, evoke quiet drama through the shadowy greens and grays used for the nocturnal scenes (strikingly punctuated with the glow of star-, moon-, and streetlight) and the creams and sepias, accented with vivid green and brighter tones, for the daytime tableaux. Use this as a springboard to talk about the ways in which art and artists can change a community, or simply enjoy the easy elegance of story and pictures. (BCCB March 2016)

"The message about the transformative power of art is a powerful one, and the intriguing premise and graceful art are definitely captivating. Reminiscent of Chris Van Allsburg’s imaginative works as well as Lane Smith’s
Grandpa Green." (The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books )

About the Author

Terry Fan received his formal art training at Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Canada. His work is a blend of traditional and contemporary techniques, using ink or graphite mixed with digital. He spends his days (and nights) creating magical paintings, portraits, and prints. Terry is the cocreator of The Night Gardener, It Fell from the Sky, and Lizzy and the Cloud. Born in Illinois, he now lives in Toronto. Visit him online

Eric Fan is an artist and writer who lives in Toronto, Canada. Born in Hawaii and raised in Toronto, he attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, where he studied illustration, sculpture, and film. He has a passion for vintage bikes, clockwork contraptions, and impossible dreams. Eric is the cocreator of 
The Night GardenerIt Fell from the Sky, and Lizzy and the Cloud. Visit him online

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00Z7C1E2Y
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (February 16, 2016)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ February 16, 2016
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 13941 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Not enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 48 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 752 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
752 global ratings

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5.0 out of 5 stars This is such a delightful, touching and simply told story....
By Linda L. Oliphant on April 20, 2017
The Night Gardner
By the Fan Brothers
Rating 5
This book caught my eye at a local bookstore and as i perused the book, I was so in awe and amazed at what i found on each page that I had to have it. This is such a delightful, touching and simply told story that even a young child’s interest will be held for more than five seconds. The story actually begins on the flap of the jacket and continues on through the credits, acknowledgment and title pages with art. There is art and every single page and it is absolutely incredible. There is such variety...color, tinted, shaded, black&white, browns&rehire and greys&white and shade of blue...soooo much contrast that I found myself in a quandary. Do I just keep looking at the page to take in every single intricate detail there is or do I turn the next page? Then, I took the book jacket off and what do a find? An absolutely beautiful cover! This book looks great “naked” !!! The next decision was do I keep the book for myself or do I give it to my young grandson??? Easy, peasy...I bought two.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story
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5.0 out of 5 stars The night gardener
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful illustrations and a nice story.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on August 20, 2018
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