A little girl and a penguin conquer their shared fear of the dark.
Ella shows Penguin a sheet of astronomical stickers. The stars, rockets, and planets are special because they glow in the dark. But in order to see the glow, Ella and Penguin must go in the closet (a place where there might be spiders, big dogs, and maybe even narwhals). As they peer cautiously inside, Ella accurately points out, “The dark is so…dark.” They quickly amend their plan and find a place that is only somewhat dark. However, neither hiding in the bathtub, crouching under a laundry basket, nor ducking under umbrellas works. They must face their fear and enter the closet. They do so, flipper-in-hand, gripping tightly. A pitch-black spread heightens the reveal. “Penguin,” Ella admonishes, “Open your eyes.” A soft-hued phosphorescence lights up Ella’s and Peguin’s surprised faces. The dark is not so scary after all. In fact, it’s beautiful! (Bonnet’s control of lighting within her illustrations is all the special effects the book provides; the pages are not actually glow-in-the-dark themselves.) A sprightly girl with double buns in her dark hair and a tiny, squat penguin realize being brave is easy when you have a friend close by (glow-in-the-dark stickers help, too).
Maynor, in her picture-book debut, tackles an oft-addressed phobia in an appreciated nonbedtime setting. (Picture book. 3-6)