A simple story designed to help children overcome their fear of the darkness: the deeply atmospheric pictures that capture the lights in many dark places are truly breath-taking.
Betty loves the night-time because she associates it with magical stories. She particularly likes the story of Cosmo the bear who is afraid of the dark. Betty wishes she could help Cosmo to feel better about the dark when ‘POP’ he appears and she has the opportunity to show him how night-time can be special. Together they set off on an adventure to conquer the dark. Together they discover the beauty of the shadows and the moon, travel into a magical cave of twinkling lights, and find a glow in their heart that can light up the darkest night.
This is a simple story intended to help children overcome their fear of the darkness. Betty’s passion for the night-time is designed to act as a positive role model to children while her adventures with Cosmo the bear show that the dark can be magical. There isn’t much of a story beyond this. (I was a little disappointed as I kept expecting a twist that never came). However, the very simplicity of the story is probably one of the things that will most charm the intended audience.
Children are also likely to love the deeply atmospheric pictures that capture the lights in many dark places. This includes beautiful pictures of Betty clutching a lantern as she and Cosmo peer into a dark wardrobe, and of Betty using her hands and the lantern to create a magnificent shadow of a soaring bird. The magic truly starts, however, when they take a trip into the ‘cave with no name’ and discover an enchanting world. My favourite picture was when they return home and find the image of their own shadows standing proud and tall against the side of the house. A metaphor, maybe, for how they have grown in confidence.
On first glance, the illustrations give the impression of simplicity but there is actually a delightful amount of detail. Look closer and you will see intriguing images in the painting on Betty’s bedroom wall and small creatures on practically every page: a cat in the scenes in Betty’s house; a fox, rabbit, squirrel and owl in the woods; and an assortment of frogs and insects in the cave.
Overall this is a delightful story that will make a calming and inspiring bedtime read.
If you enjoyed this and are looking for another book packed with atmospheric images, you can’t go wrong with the slightly surreal but wonderfully imaginative Space Tortoise by Ross Montgomery and David Litchfield. Alternatively, why not try The Spectacular City by Teresa Heapy and David Litchfield.
Date: February 2019
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Websites: Marie Voigt