Hello, Dark

Pajama. Oct. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781772782219.
PreS-Gr 1–Fear is replaced with reverie in Wong’s matter-of-fact conversation between an Asian boy and “Dark,” who frightens him every night with sound and atmospherics. The child, with black hair puffed as a chrysanthemum and wearing rumpled pajamas, is fed up with being afraid, and lists all the things Dark does well. Dark shields the earth to give it time to rest, nocturnal animals can play safely in the shadows, and more. The narrator reaches up, toward Dark, and realizes that his newly amiable companion may be lonely. The monologue then turns to happier things, such as shadow play, meditation, and sharing music. The illustrations are moody and walk a fine line between what the child imagines and the shadows that might actually occupy a bedroom in the dark. The boy’s narration is age-appropriate and logical, as he works through his feelings to safety.
VERDICT A generous look at nighttime, and the fact that it unfolds in dim rooms and under black skies gives it a resonant veracity. For all bedtime shelves.

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