Night Animals

illus. by Gianna Marino. 40p. Viking. Jul. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780451469540.
PreS-K—A great cover design—a scared-looking opossum, stark black background, and the title in shiny silver lettering—will grab kids' attention. Endpapers in black, relieved only by three pairs of wide open eyes, will build suspense. As the story begins, Possum is hiding in the woods when a friendly skunk comes along. Possum spreads a fear of "night animals" to the skunk, then a wolf, and a bear. It takes a calm bat to explain to them that they are night animals. The illustrations include a lot of visual humor, as in Possum "playing possum" by acting dead and Skunk spraying "perfume" each time they get scared. The inside of the cover includes scientific facts about the animals, which is a nice feature that unfortunately will present processing challenges for many libraries.
VERDICT A good title to share with children who may be afraid of the dark to help them see the lighter side of fear.

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