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Growing Bookworms Newsletter: May 28

Yeti, Turn Out the Light! Greg Long, Chris Edmundson & Wednesday Kirwan

Book: Yeti, Turn Out the Light!
Author: Greg Long & Chris Edmundson
Illustrator: Wednesday Kirwan
Pages: 36
Age Range: 3-5

Yeti, Turn Out the Light! gives a very light touch to the issue of kids who are afraid of shadows in their rooms. Yeti is sleepy. He gets ready for bed, but once in bed he tosses and turns because he is frightened of odd shadows in his room. The odd shadows are each shown, in various page spreads, to be something completely harmless (but odd enough to generate a suspicious shadow). Three bunnies, a deer with three birds on its antlers, an owl sitting on a bear's head, drinking some tea. I each case, the shadow is quite frightening, while the reality is quirky but not at all scary. In the end, Yeti is able to send all of his shadow-generating friends home, and get a good night of sleep. 

The rhyming text of Yeti, Turn Out the Light! is catchy and also demonstrates apt vocabulary. This is a book that I can imagine happily reading to my daughter over and over again. Here are a couple of examples:

"So Yeti heads home, eats his dinner, and flosses.
Then he snuggles into bed, but he turns and he tosses."

"Why?" you may ask.
Well I'll tell you, my dear.
Yeti sees shadows 
dart rightfully near."

I love a book that can use "dart." Another example uses "wary" to rhyme with "scary." Well-done, I say. 

Kirwan's digitally generated images feature a not-so-attractive blue and white Yeti figure. The various animal creatures that Yeti discovers in his house have huge, jewel-like eyes, and an exaggerated sweetness that provides contrast with the homely Yeti. The shadows are masterful, managing to look menacing, despite fitting in well with their ordinary shadow-generators.

The whole story is contrived, of course. Why would there be a deer with three birds on its antlers sneaking into Yeti's house in the middle of the night? But it's that very absurdity that I think will make this book work with shadow-leery preschoolers. Yeti, Turn Out the Light! is the opposite of a didactic book that tells kids not to be scared of shadows. Instead, Yeti shows kids, repeatedly and humorously, that the shadows might well be something benign. I am looking forward to trying this book out on my own preschooler. I expect it to find a place in our regular night-time picture book rotation. Recommended for home and library use. 

Publisher: Chronicle Books 
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

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