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.