- Orion and the Dark
- written and illustrated by Emma Yarlett
- published by Templar Books (Candlewick Press) (2015)
- Roar Score: 4/5
Orion and the Dark is an absolute charm from beginning to end. The story is about a little boy (Orion) who is scared of a lot of things … but mostly the dark. As you can probably guess, he’s not a big fan of bedtime and all of the darkness that usually comes with that.
But one night, something strange happens. The Dark comes alive and creeps down into Orion’s bedroom … and it turns out not to be as scary as Orion thought. In terms of bedtime / scared-of-the-dark stories, there’s really not much new ground to tread, but this one, like I said, is a charm.
The presentation and production quality are what set it apart from the pack. The mixed media artwork and clever lettering are a feast for the eyes; writer/illustrator Emma Yarlett has outdone herself here. Most spreads are jam-packed with quirky details that are great fun for little eyes to explore.
Even though the temptation, I’m sure, was to present The Dark as scary initially (after all, it is anthropomorphized darkness), the character is friendly and delightful from the get-go. Which should come as a comfort to little readers who might, themselves, be afraid of the dark.
The introduction of The Dark and how he and Orion greet each other is an absolute delight. One of the pages is cut to look like The Dark’s hand so when you turn the page, The Dark shakes hands with Orion on the opposite page. (This trick is repeated toward the end of the book to even greater effect.)
This one comes highly recommended. The art is engaging, the story is funny, and the kids will ask for repeated readings. Always the sign of a successful picture book.
(Thanks to Candlewick Press who provided The Roarbots with a review copy of this book. All opinions remain my own.)