Two siblings take charge of Papa’s scary bedtime story in Murguia’s sweet and chilling nighttime tale.
As brown-skinned siblings Grace and Walter settle down for bed, Papa (also brown-skinned) offers to tell them a bedtime story. To Walter’s dismay, Grace excitedly demands a scary story, and Papa begins with two brave siblings in a forest that is “very, very... / dark.” When Walter exclaims that the dark is too scary, Papa’s story shifts from the forest to a meadow alight with fireflies. After a moment, Grace insists that fireflies are not scary, and Papa’s story turns again—the siblings now facing creatures hidden in the bushes. “Too scary!” Walter objects again, and Papa reveals that the creatures are a group of tired, furry animals settling down to sleep. But Grace still wants something scary, and as the story turns dark once again, both children must summon their courage to banish a shadowy monster and triumph over the story and their fear. Illustrations that adeptly transition between the creepy and cheerful sides of the story’s nighttime world perfectly complement the equally nimble text. Directed by the children’s input, the shifts from dark to light in Papa’s voice and story tone are dynamically mirrored by similar shifts of palette and mood in the art.
Fun and frisson in just the right balance. (Picture book. 3-6)