- ISBN-13: 9780763675950
- ISBN-10: 0763675954
- Publisher: Templar Books
- Publish Date: March 2015
- Page Count: 40
- Reading Level: Ages 3-7
- Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.5 x 0.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-02-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Orion is a precocious boy with some big fears, and the biggest one of all is the dark. Although he tries to approach the problem analytically and ingeniously (he considers "dressing up like an owl," because "everyone knows that owls can see in the dark"), nothing can vanquish his anxiety. Then one night the dark becomes the Dark: a smiling, twinkling, biomorphic creature who extends a midnight-blue hand of friendship (thanks to a hand-shaped die cut). The Dark leads Orion on a night of friendly mischief (bed bouncing!), common-sense talk, and a trip into the very heavens where Dark reigns. Orion is sold: "I realized the Dark could be fun, and the Dark could be interesting, and the Dark could be magical." Yarlett (Sidney, Stella, and the Moon), working an evocatively nocturnal palette of greens and blues, draws on an impressive repertoire of compositional and narrative techniques to portray this touching celestial friendship. The varied images are gorgeous to look at, and they will leave readers feeling fortunate to have witnessed these two protagonists' starry-eyed mutual affection. Ages 3–7. Agent: Louise Lamont, LBA Books. (Mar.)
Not so scary after all
Author-illustrator Emma Yarlett first caught my attention with her picture book Sidney, Stella, and the Moon, and now I can’t stop re-reading her newest offering, Orion and the Dark. One glance at the cover and my book-stuffed heart says, “Yay!” My instincts rarely fail, and neither does Yarlett.
Orion’s fears are myriad: dogs, deep water, monsters, plaid. But the most terrifying thing of all looms at the end of each day, hovering at the top of a steep climb up to Orion’s bed: the Dark. Despite his most creative solutions, bedtimes—and the Dark—are unavoidable. But delightfully, the Dark is less monstrous than Orion feared. Together, they explore and de-scary all the nighttime sounds and places, from closets and drains to ceiling fans and snoring.
Yarlett is the best kind of author-illustrator, incorporating exciting fonts into her whimsical images, pulling the reader in again and again. Her text is simple enough for young children, but clever asides will keep adults entertained. Quirky sketches and thought bubbles fill each colorful page to perfection. Best of all are two die-cut pages in which the Dark literally embraces Orion—and the reader’s imagination.
Night-shy children will find companionship in Orion and comfort in the Dark’s gentle, friendly appearance, while grown-up readers will invent excuses to keep this book on their own shelves.