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The Night World

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,569 ratings  ·  311 reviews
Everyone in the house is sleeping, but outside, the night world is wide-awake.
It's a wonderful night to explore!
Perfect for bedtime, this book from Caldecott Medalist Mordicai Gerstein celebrates the secrets of the night world and the joys of the sunrise.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published June 16th 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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The Author's Note from the back:

'One night when I was four,
I awoke in the dark. I called to my father:
"Daddy, I have to pee!" He carried me to the bathroom,
but on the way back to bed, we went through the kitchen.
Out the window, where the familiar backyard should have been, I saw a place
I'd never seen before, full of dark shadows and strange silvery shapes.

"Where's the backyard?" I asked.

"You're looking at it," said my father.

"No," I said. "That's the night world. It's not for me."
I knew I would
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Hm. I might like it more on another day. Probably would be treasured by some.
Fits the 'Night time is a good time' topic thread in the Children's Books group, though dawn is seen as even better.

Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A boy and his cat explore their environment at night. Everyone in the house is asleep, even the fish. Outside is starlight and shadows. The boy explores the yard and the night time animals. When the sun comes up, the shadows disappear and the environment is flooded with colors.

Black and gray illustrations are printed on forest green pages. The boy explores the night time landscape and waits with the animals for the special occasion to occur. When the sun comes up the colors come back to the page
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
In the middle of the night darkness, a boy is woken by his cat who clearly wants to go outside. She leads him out of his room, through the dark house where everyone is asleep, even the fish. Then the cat speaks, saying that it is coming and it’s almost here. The two go outside where the grass is dewy, the air is warm, and the sky is filled stars. He can only see shadows everywhere. Some seem to be flowers and others seem to be animals who are also out at night, a deer, an owl, a porcupine and mo ...more
Shortly after 12:30 this morning Xena and I stepped outside for our final stroll before bedtime. Unlike during the day when breezes are steady, not a leaf stirred. Temperatures and humidity had dropped bringing clarity to the air. A half-moon was framed in the sky by birch tree branches now black. The few stars not affected by the light of the moon were as bright as ripe berries waiting to be plucked. The rest of the neighborhood was quiet. We were two lone observers.

During such unexpected momen
Kaethe Douglas
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I'm a night person, so I love pretty illustrations of night. Plus there's a cat. I went away for four days, and considered seeing a cat walk into a store a high point. As did my traveling companion, so don't judge.

Library copy
Katt Hansen
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Oooh... I love the nighttime world. I love the way everything looks different at night and seems like a brand new place that what we're familiar with during the day. I am reminded of being a child looking outside at night and wanting to do just what this child did - to explore and discover how night changes everything. But more than anything, I love how the colors creep in onto the pages when the dawn finally comes. Creative and beautiful in a much simplified way, I would read this to a child at ...more
I have a cat just like Sylvie. Wonderful book for a little one who might be afraid of the dark - the glorious colors at the end are a nice beginning to a new day!
Michelle Simpson
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I think this one will be on my Mock Caldecott list! The illustrations are stunning!
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: morning people
As a morning person, this book greeted me like an old friend.
Mordicai Gerstein's gorgeous illustrations capture the shadowy night world and the magic of dawn perfectly:

However, I found the text verbose and kind of dull.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The illustrations are stunning in this book! They instantly won me over. The story is cute as well.
Tina Hoggatt
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fabulously moody black, white and gray illustrations set the mysterious mood for this exploration of the world at night.
Seema Rao
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A look at how your world looks different at night told in watercolors on dark paper and few words.
Mar 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The Night World by Mordicai Gernstein (2015)
Awards: None yet, but Gernstein has won a Caldecott in the past for The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

Target audience: 3-7 years

A little boy and his cat go outside at nighttime and see his yard covered in shadows. Then the sun rises and color is restored to the world.

-Gorgeous illustrations consisting of mostly black paint on gray paper
-Concept will be relatable to all children

-Not much plot or strong characterization
-The illust
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
A little boy is awoken by his cat who encourages him to explore the world at night. Everything familiar feels foreign with shadows making everything a little harder to discern. The sunrise is vibrant, colorful, and rings of celebration.

I like the tone of this book. The text and the artwork work really well together to give readers the delicious feeling of cautious fascination. The dark is a little scary, but mostly intriguing, something to be observed and experienced.

The author's note following
Sep 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Man, I didn't expect the text to be so chilling! But I still loved it. The book is gorgeous. The gray paper is the perfect background for the white text and mostly-black drawings. It starts with just a few hints of color (the whites/greens of the eyes), but fully blossoms into beautiful and colorful drawings once the sun rises.

I'd love to see this read in a story time and hear how a librarian interprets "it's almost here" and "it's coming." I'm afraid I would read it too scarily...
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
The book started well, with a nice black & white mysterious atmosphere and a cat. Everything happened at night, so I was expecting something a little magical and better than the fact that furnitures seem different in the dark. Fireflies or shooting stars would be good reasons to go outside at this hour, but it wasn't what was scheduled here and the conclusion was dull in my opinion. ...more
Laura McLoughlin
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Nice pictures and I liked that the kid in the story found darkness/night different instead of scary. However, I'm not sure it is a good idea to suggest that children sneak out of the house in order to watch the sunrise. Next time, find a window. ...more
Carrie Gelson
Love the entire concept of this title. Gorgeous! This is truly brilliant. A dark, usually known world, is busy and alive when it is explored at night. Slowly, morning happens. And wow, does it happen beautifully. All about the magic of light.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
4.3 stars

Got this title from a list of 2016 Caldecott predictions.

A young boy and his cat explore the mysterious night world and welcome the dawn.

The Author’s Note at the end adds a personal dimension to the story.
Edward Sullivan
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Gerstein beautifully captures the mysterious magic of nighttime and the gloriousness of sunrise.
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Here's another with Caldecott written all over it. LOVELY! Everytime I read these I'm so glad I'm not on the committee. ...more
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
The text is a bit uneven, but the illustrations are worth the price of admission. Gerstein really nails the amorphous yet suggestive murkiness of nighttime through a child's eyes. ...more
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Oh! The illustrations! Excitement in the shadows and the glorious first rays of sunshine!
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is my pick to win the 2016 Caldecott. I love the pictures and how they interact with the story. It is a magical story about a very ordinary part of life.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book, 2016
One of 4 honor books at today's 2016 Mock Caldecott at the Carmel Clay Public Library! ...more
Barb Middleton
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Nice building of tension and use of color in illustrations to create mood. Kids were frightened at first and laughed when the end revealed "What was coming." ...more
Sep 06, 2016 rated it did not like it
Uncomfortable. Giving my kid thoughts that running outside supervised by no more than a cat in the middle of the night is ok. Hmmm... no.
This won't go down as a favorite for me. But I think it would have been a good one for my young children. We aren't good sleepers in my family. We like to stay awake forever. Darkness does not mean the end of the day. It just means you need other sources of light.

Pages and pages of dark pictures are annoying to me, like a lack of color. Still, if you live in the country like we did back then, and how I live now, knowing what lives in the darkness, as far as the animal life you don't see in the d
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2016 Spring Child...: Jordan - Digital Book Promotion 1 16 Mar 07, 2016 03:50PM  

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Mordicai Gerstein was an American artist, writer, and film director, best known for illustrating and writing children's books. He illustrated the comic mystery fiction series Something Queer is Going On. He won the 2004 Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration. ...more

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