Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Darkest Dark

Chris is a young boy who spends his days pretending to be an astronaut and his nights afraid of the dark. In an effort to keep him in his own bed his parents try to reassure him by searching his room for “aliens” and giving him a bell to ring if he is frightened, but nothing works. Finally, his father tells him that if they don’t get some sleep, they’ll be too tired to go to the neighbor’s house tomorrow. With some effort, Chris finally falls asleep and has his favorite dream about flying his spaceship to the moon. Tomorrow turns out to be July 20, 1969, and the gathering at the neighbor’s is to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing on television. As Chris watches the astronauts walking on the moon for the first time, he realizes how dark it is out in space. That night when he goes to bed he leaves the night light off. He looks out at the night sky and is unafraid. Enthralled, he sees the “power and mystery and velvety black beauty of the dark” and wants to explore it all. He realizes that his dreams are there with him in the dark. His fear has turned to excitement about the possibilities of the future. Chris’s dreams eventually come true, as told in the afterword to the story detailing his career as an astronaut.

This book is beautifully illustrated, with luminous night scenes, fantastical images of the “aliens” in the dark, and whimsical depictions of Chris’s dreams. The Darkest Dark, by Chris Hadfield, is a wonderful, soothing story for dealing with nighttime fears and showing kids that big dreams can come true.

Guest post by Allison C. 

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