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Darkness Slipped in - Ella Burfoot

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Ella Burfoot / Paperback / 32 Pages / Book is published 2009-01-05 by Kingfisher Books Ltd

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      07.03.2012 13:29
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      Didn't do the job of making my little one less afraid of the dark

      OVERVIEW: Darkness creeps into Daisy's room, trying to sneak up on her. But she's not scared and, grabbing him by his wrist, they dance until they can dance no more, then sip lemonade and nibble on cake. Finally, both tired, Daisy curls up in bed and Darkness wraps her in a big hug.

      LENGTH: 32 pages

      PRODUCT DIMENSIONS: 26 x 22.6 x 0.4 cm

      PRICE: £5.99

      MY VIEW: Almost overnight my 2 year old went from sleeping perfectly okay to being scared of the dark. She'd had her door opened for a while but seemed to want more and more light, until I was afraid her room might eventually resemble a floodlit football pitch. Finally deciding that the spare room light was enough, I felt that I needed to deal with the underlying problem. As a parent, I've found that often the best way to tackle these common childhood issues is to find a book on the topic (after all, what hasn't been written or drawn about!). So, I took myself off to Waterstone's and asked an assistant for advice. She recommended Darkness Slipped In.

      I have to say, quickly glancing through the book, I had my doubts. I actually dislike the way Darkness is represented and find him quite sinister. And when I took the book home, my husband made the same comment. I honestly thought it could go either way when my daughter saw it! Nevertheless, you can't deny how beautiful the book is. Aside from Darkness, the rest of the illustrations are charming and what makes this book really lovely are the different textures used to represent the dark - as the dark slips in, the page is layered with a glossy black that eventually takes up more and more room on the pages. The story is also short enough to be read twice at bedtime (because, of course, you always get the request for a repeat performance, don't you!). It's in a nice rhyming format and my daughter was quickly repeating parts of it.

      SO, DID IT WORK? I can't say that it's made my daughter less scared of the dark and whilst she seems to have taken to Darkness (or Mr. Dark as we call him) and, thankfully, wasn't given the heebie-jeebies by him, I don't feel that it's made her embrace the pitch black of night any more! The reason for this is that I feel the book is just too metaphorical. Perhaps an older child would understand this metaphor more - but then again, an older child probably would be beyond this sort of very basic book. The writer has personified the dark, turning him into a character who dances with Daisy and has tea with her. However, in the wee small hours, when a room is dark, this really has no meaning for a frightened two year old. Even when a room is lit by a night light, little toddlers still dislike the dark. Yes, kids of this age are hugely imaginative, but I don't feel this extends to grasping the take-out that the author's trying to convey in this book. Instead, I would have preferred a more practical little tale - something which captures the imagination but gives little ones a more practical way of understanding the dark. There are many realistic ways of showing children having fun in the dark (hiding, playing, seeing what animals come out at night etc) which I feel would have worked better. As it is, although my daughter likes this book, it didn't achieve what it sets out to do.

      CONCLUSION: A beautiful looking book but it has no real depth and is too metaphorical for very young children. Also, the character of Darkness might scare some little ones.

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