The Monster Who Ate Darkness by Joyce Dunbar and Jimmy Liao
|The Monster Who Ate Darkness by Joyce Dunbar and Jimmy Liao|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: When the monster eats all the darkness in the world, everything starts to go wrong for the people and animals. The embodiment of darkness makes it ideal for children who are scared of the dark, but it's also an enjoyable read in its own right.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 56||Date: October 2009|
|Publisher: Walker Books|
Jo-Jo is scared that there might be a monster under his bed. He's right! The hungry monster doesn't want to eat little boys though; he eats darkness. He starts with all the darkness in Jo-Jo's room, and keeps eating and eating until he's eaten all the darkness in the world. With no darkness at all, strange things begin to happen...
With its embodiment of darkness, I was immediately reminded of Darkness Slipped In by Ella Burfoot. Each takes a different approach, but are ideal for any child who's scared of the dark. The Monster Who Ate Darkness wipes out what's scaring children, then uses its absence to make a case for its positives. It's a clever bit of misdirection that young children will understand, and can be used to stimulate further discussion with their parents.
Even if your child isn't scared of the dark, The Monster Who Ate Darkness is a great read. It's fun to see the monster making its way around the world, getting bigger and bigger (but never scary in its own right). The plot develops nicely, and is a little more detailed than the average picture book, which makes it great for children on the cusp of reading for themselves. The abstract concept of eating darkness might take a moment or two to get used to, but it's easy enough to suspend disbelief and play along with the magic.
Jimmy Liao's illustrations are bold and engaging. The monster is clearly a monster, but he's not going to give anyone nightmares. There are plenty of interesting scenes to admire, from forests to volcanoes. It would be easy to make eating the darkness look odd, but it really works well and helps sell the idea. It all sits nicely alongside the text and makes for an enjoyable whole. Recommended.
My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
There are plenty of further reading suggestions in our Top Ten Picture Books For Overcoming Bedtime Woes. For other fun night-time adventures, check out Zebedee's Zoo by Giles Milton and Katharine McEwen and Nat Fantastic by Giles Andreae and Katharine McEwen.
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