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Small Blue and the Deep Dark Night: Jon Davis

Book: Small Blue and the Deep Dark Night
Author: Jon Davis
Pages: 40
Age Range: 4-8

Small Blue and the Deep Dark Night by Jon Davis is a cozy picture book that presents a practical solution to night-time fears. Small Blue is a little, floppy-eared rabbit. When she awakens during the night, she imagines that all sorts of "creepy" things lurk in the darkness. Big Brown, a big, cozy bear/parental figure brings safety and reassurance. He patiently offers up cheerful alternatives to Small Blue's imaginings. Eventually, Small Blue is able to imagine cheerful things in the darkness, too. 

Davis' text is full of rich, descriptive vocabulary. Like this:

"Small Blue thought of creepy things.
She thought of sneaky things.
She thought of gnarly snarly teeth,
boggling goggling eyes,
and a sniffly snuffling nose."

Big Brown's alternatives are delightful, as are the interactions between the two. Like this:

"Perhaps," said Big Brown. "But couldn't it also be
a smiley spacemen's zero-gravity birthday party?
"Well, maybe," said Small Blue.

Clearly, this is a book that is going to be fun to read aloud. I mean, who wouldn't want to read about "warty witches and clackety skeletons, sniff-sniff,sniffing"?

Davis' digitally painted illustrations are set mainly against a deep, purplish-blue background (like the cover), conveying the darkness in a relatively warm way. The creepy things that Small Blue imagines are shown with ever-so-slightly fuzzy edges, a visual cue that they are not real. Big Brown's imaginings, while more cheerful, are also faintly blurred, compared to the crisp lines that he uses for the main characters. A couple of page spreads in which the light is turned on are bright and detail-filled, reminiscent of Kady MacDonald Denton's cozy settings. 

But the heart of Small Blue and the Deep Dark Night lies in the warn, trusting relationship between Small Blue and Big Brown, conveyed via words and pictures. This is a perfect book with which parent and child can curl up in bed, staving off night-time terrors. This one is going on our keep shelf. Highly recommended!

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (@HMHBooks)
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

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