3 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever been fearful of the dark as a child? Can you remember when that fear started and how you overcame it? Or do you still sleep with a night-light? In Ann Marie Hannon’s book, All About a Boy Who Was Afraid of the Dark (And How He Got Over It), Patrick wakes up at midnight on December 12th. He has never woken up before morning, and the silent darkness of the night frightens him. Memories of all the times he had been scared before start to replay in his mind. In the past, his parents had always been there to comfort him. Now he is alone in his dark bedroom. Patrick begins to cry very loudly. His crying wakes up his older sister, Margy. Can five-year-old Margy help Patrick overcome his fear of the dark?
I really liked the teachable moments in this story. When Margy helped Patrick, this showed problem-solving and communication skills among siblings. When their parents praised them for good deeds, this depicted their appreciation towards good behavior. When Patrick’s parents saved him from an excitable dog which frightened him, this showed care and love. All of these portrayed little lessons for both children and parents. Storybook characters can often become role-models, so I’m glad that this book had many positive teachings.
I liked that the main problem in the book could relate to both adults and children. Everyone has fears. Furthermore, the fear of darkness is very common among people of all ages. In the story, Patrick developed a new perspective when it came to sleeping in the dark, one that vanquished his fear completely. Youngsters who share the same fear as Patrick may find this short tale really helpful in overcoming it.
I liked the font style and size used in this book because I think it was suitable for children. Large, simple lettering adorned the pages which made it very easy to read. The text was printed in black against a grey background. This contrast amplified the readability of the words. Moreover, the layout was simple and made the book easy on the eyes. The text-to-picture ratio was perfect.
Illustrations are an important part of any children’s book. Although the pictures in this book were animated and depicted the characters’ expressions well, I disliked them. Stock imagery was used. This is commonly seen on a lot of kids’ websites and in workbooks. However, seeing them in storybooks can be a little monotonous. To me, stock illustrations lack a fresh artistic touch, and this is what makes storybook illustrations different, dynamic, and fun.
There were minor errors in this book, most of which were punctuation mistakes. However, these did not affect my reading experience. There was also a two-letter word which had an extra space between the letters. I don’t think the book was professionally edited because I’m sure these issues would have been rectified if it was. In addition to these, I also considered the illustrations before reaching my final rating – 3 out of 4 stars.
This book will appeal to children aged 5 and over. It can also be read to kids of any age by parents or teachers. I can’t think of anyone who would dislike this story.
All About a Boy Who Was Afraid of the Dark (and how he got over it)
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