The Night Watchman is the second collaboration between primary school teacher Jean-Baptiste Labrune and illustrator Jérémie Fischer who have been best buddies since the seventh grade.
Jérémie Fischer’s use of fluid lines, geometric shapes and loud colour’s create an amazing backdrop to this tale of love and suspense. Your invited into the story through an arched window where Fischer’s illustrations depict a colourful city of people going about their daily routines.
As you turn the pages the lively palette of oranges and yellows gradually fade into darker shades of blue. The sun is setting on this fortified city and the hands of the clock tower say it’s time for the Night Watchman to start his routine patrol. Like any security guard or policeman his job is to keep the city and the people safe from intruders.
I’m only a handful of pages into the story and I’m already wondering what on earth can be out there that has resulted in this city’s need for a night watchman. Your eye’s follow the watchman’s bright yellow head lamp as you slowly turn the pages.
An eery silence has grabbed his attention as he suddenly realizes that the monotonous ticking of the town clock has stopped. He goes to investigate only to discover that the entire clock has been smashed to pieces.
At this point Fischer cleverly divides the pages into smaller storyboard style scenes, each one showing a different composition of the watchman frantically rushing through the city’s winding streets in hot pursuit of the culprit.
The story (literally) takes a dark turn as the watchman turns off his headlamp and the page colours change from a soft off-white to an intimidating midnight blue. You follow the watchman’s silhouette through the shadows and start to feel a little tense as the cities dark history slowly reveals itself.
The Night Watchman is a beautifully written story that jumps off the page with Fischer’s incredible use of colour and imagery. It’s a quite a hefty thing at 192 pages and I should warn you that it gets a little dark in places. It’s probably not suitable for my two (3 and 4) who are still struggling to stay awake for the full length of the Rhyming Rabbit. However I’ll be holding on to it as i’m positive it will capture their imagination in a few years time – It definitely did mine.
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