Monday 23 July 2012

Darkness Slipped In by Ella Burfoot (Kingfisher Press Ltd)

Most children go through a phase of being 'afraid of the dark' and in Ella Burfoot's book "Darkness Slipped In" the darkness is reimagined as a playmate, a spiky-headed shadowy figure that isn't to be feared. Daisy, the young girl in the book, isn't the least bit afraid of the darkness as he envelops her room. They have a merry dance, and play, until Daisy starts to get sleepy.

The book treads a mighty fine line between allaying a child's fears of what night-time holds and giving them too much to think about once they settle down into their bed and the unfamiliar domain of darkness turns their snug surroundings into a shadowy realm.

I'd certainly baulk at reading this to Charlotte anywhere near bed-time (perfect for bright sunny days like we've had over the weekend though). It's beautifully illustrated, the characters are engaging (though Darkness still looks a little too sinister and mysterious at times, and his all-enveloping arms taking away Daisy's teddy were a bit much for Charlotte). It's a good attempt to produce something that shows there's nothing to be scared of once the lights go out, but children's minds don't quite work that way, and merely showing that Darkness is a happy little chap who likes a bit of a dance won't actually go as far as mollifying a child's dreamed-up demons if they have trouble sleeping at night.

Charlotte's best bit: Daisy's lovely dress and cute teddy

Daddy's favourite bit: The depiction of the darkness - worked for me but possibly still too scary for kids.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars