Friday, 9 May 2014

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 9th May 2014 - "Orion and the Dark" by Emma Yarlett (Templar Publishing)

Orion and the Dark

Written and Illustrated by
Emma Yarlett

Published by Templar Books

Every time we hear that Emma Yarlett has produced a new book, or is illustrating someone else's stories, we get a little over-excited. Charlotte is a huge fan of Emma's - because her artwork is always gorgeously detailed, there's always a necessity to read her books again and again and again so you don't miss anything, and her stories are deftly woven to inspire and delight.

"Orion and the Dark" deals with a theme we have seen several times before, and looking back through the blog it's a theme that seems to consistently feature in books that end up as our "Book of the Week" nominees. Children's fear of the dark can be a very real fear - and a problem for parents who want to make sure that their child feels safe in their environment, and also get a good night's sleep so they're not complete grumpy-chops in the morning.

Most recently we absolutely loved "The Dark" by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen, and Emma Yarlett's tale adopts a similar theme, but approaches things in a fresh and engaging way.

Orion (coolest name ever!) is a little lad who has many fears, not just of the dark. Darkness is the worst though, and Orion hates all the spaces in the house that are dark (like under the bed and inside the wardrobe). Poor Orion's imagination works overtime and he gets into a real lather. One night, worse than all the others, something amazing happens. The dark comes to visit Orion but is the complete opposite of the nasty monstrous dark Orion was expecting.

Thus unfolds a new chapter in Orion's tale, which we'll leave you to discover in this lovely book (lovely THICK book we should say, it's a really nice long story for a special treat when you want to send your children off to the land of nod with a belter of a tale).

Emma's talent is that she engages children on two levels in her books, she wraps them up in an exciting and stimulating story, then engages their curiosity and observation with her beautiful illustrations. We mentioned at the top of the review how gorgeously detailed they are, and how Emma uses various media, collage and top-notch character work to give her stories a truckload of immersion and emotion.

We've gushed enough. Simply put, go and buy this book. If your own children have their own fears about darkness and what lurks therein, this could be a really brilliant book to offer reassurance that the dark is nothing to be scared of - in fact sometimes the dark holds hidden wonders and amazement all of its own.

Charlotte's best bit: There are some utterly brilliant spreads in this where elements of the page 'fold out' to describe the action in the story. Truly wonderful and such a brilliant idea to immerse children in the story and in books this way.

Daddy's Favourite bit: For someone relatively new and fresh to children's books, Emma is fast becoming the safest pair of hands in the business for both illustration and storytelling duties. This is a theme we've seen before but Emma's take on it feels original and engaging from page one right through to the end.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Templar Publishing)