Orion is scared of a lot of things thanks to his big imagination, but the thing that he is most frightened of is the dark. He hates bedtime and spends the night watching for monsters and listening for scary noises. One night, he is so upset that he shouts at the dark to just go away! That’s when the Dark outside his window changed and became alive. It entered his room and Orion cautiously greeted him. Then the Dark invited Orion along on an adventure. First, the two explored the darkest and most frightening parts of Orion’s house together and it turned out that those places were a lot of fun. They faced the scary sounds in the darkness together and found out that they weren’t that frightening after all. Finally, they headed out into the darkest place of all, the night sky and there Orion discovered that not only wasn’t he scared of the Dark anymore, but they had become the best of friends.
Yarlett has written a dynamic picture book that does a lot to soothe fear of the dark. First, it turns the dark into a character who is warm, friendly and filled with stars. He’s also rounded and rather like a sparkling stuffed animal. There is certainly nothing to fear there. Then as they explore the dark places and noises together, readers and Orion realize that there is nothing to be afraid of there either. The ending of the book as they fly up into the night is magical and marvelous, offering another way to see the night.
The illustrations are done with plenty of humor. The paper switches as Orion thinks of things or plans to lined paper that makes it more like a school assignment. His ideas also show up in childlike crayon, including the fierce monsters that he imagines are in the closet. A couple of the pages have Dark’s arm as part of them, moving the arm makes the Dark shake hands with Orion, and really allows the Dark to greet the reader too.
Lovely illustrations that embrace the darkness of night combine with strong storytelling in this picture book that will have everyone wishing they too could make friends with the Dark. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.