The Night Gardener
By Terry Fan and Eric Fan
This picture book made it onto my list in a unique way. There was no manuscript, no sketch dummy, no storyline--just the image of a gentleman on a ladder trimming a tree and a title. Debut picture book author-illustrators (and brothers) Terry and Eric knew that they wanted to tell this gentleman's story, but they weren't quite sure where or how to begin. So designer extraordinaire Lizzy Bromley and I, who both loved the image, got on the phone with the brothers to talk about who this guy was, what he wanted from life and what he had to offer, and what kind of town would benefit from his presence.
The story follows young William, an orphan, who lives in a drab little town where very little happens and where the people aren't very kind to each other. One morning, William awakes to find that the tree outside his window has been transformed into an owl topiary. Each new morning brings a new topiary. Suddenly, the town is full of energy, abuzz with delight and eager to find out who the mysterious Night Gardener is. The text is sweet and lyrical, and the images are capital-B Beautiful.
I had an incredible time working with Terry and Eric and Lizzy on The Night Gardener. The package--from the jacket, to the case, to the paper--is stunning. I'm very proud of this book.
See more of Lizzy's work here.
For more information and to buy the book, click here.
A Spring 2016 Kids' Indie Next List Top Ten Selection
★ "An elegant picture book that celebrates creativity and community."--School Library Journal (starred review)
★ "A treat, with artwork worth lingering over."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
★ "An uplifting testament to the effect that a caring adult can have on a lonely child."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
★ "Visual storytelling at its best."--Shelf Awareness (starred review)
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Winner of the Society of Illustrator's 2016 Founder's Award
An NPR Best Book of 2016