Monday, July 11, 2016

Scared of the Dark

Thornton, C.L. (2016). Scared of the Dark. Self-Published.

Children's Rhyming Picture Book / Facing Fears

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars


Cover Blurb:  
Shadows dance on your wall
Curtains flap in the breeze
Floorboards squeak in the hall
The wind whips through the trees

The dark can be scary, especially when you don't know what you're afraid of. But you're not alone, most of us have felt scared at night and the dark's not actually so bad. Discover some of the reasons for our fear, meet friendly animals who play in the night and learn to think of the dark in a new way. Oh and just in case some monsters are'll be reminded that you're braver than you may think!

Hall Ways Review: 
In Scared of the Dark, author Caroline Thornton uses rhyming and a mishmash of interesting illustrations to help young readers who are afraid when nighttime comes.  The author starts by acknowledging and being empathetic to the fears the readers may have, and then she goes on to give some explanations and thinking strategies that can help assuage any scared feelings.  Additionally, there is a second-layer message that there are very real fears for some children, and that when those "monsters" make appearances, screaming and getting help from others are answers. 

The cover will definitely draw-in readers, but the images within the story are a completely different style from the cover -- and from each other.  Many of the illustrations are eerie and others are whimsical and interestingly enough, according to the author, all but one of them were taken and painstakingly modified from public domain images.  Thornton said she was intentional about choosing the base pictures so that they would have a “universal feel that is neither overly traditional nor contemporary.”  Thornton also said her childhood love of Peepo! (Janet and Allan Ahlberg) influenced her illustration choices. Though there's not a single cohesive style or theme for all the illustrations, they are interesting and will likely be closely studied by readers, keeping them engaged in the book.

The rhyming is well-done, with just a few lines per page to keep it manageable for newly independent readers. There are some pages where the cadence changes and it breaks the rhythm of the storytelling, so I would advise practicing before any read-alouds. The twenty plus pages had only two pieces of punctuation (one oddly placed), and this reader would have preferred to see the pages punctuated properly as a model to young readers.  

I would recommend this book for kindergarten to second or third grade children. Due to the subject matter, Scared of the Dark is best as a read-along or read-aloud so that an adult is there to for the sensitive reader. 

Thank you to the author for providing me an eBook copy in exchange for my honest opinion -- the only kind I give.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Caroline L. Thornton lives in Scotland. She loves animals, movies and all things vintage. She writes rhyming picture books and her first, Scared of the Dark was inspired by her own fear of the dark as a child. She wanted to write a book that she feels could have helped her and which may help others who feel scared in the night.  


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