Orion and the Dark

Orion and the DarkSummary: Orion is scared of a lot of things, but most of all he’s scared of the dark. So one night the Dark decides to take Orion on an adventure. Emma Yarlett’s second picture book combines her incredible storytelling and artwork with die-cut pages that bring the Dark to life.

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Orion and the Dark, by Emma Yarlett 7.25

I literally had no idea what ‘Orion and the Dark’ was when I requested it from the library. It was featured on the “Recently Reviewed” section of their webpage and, somewhat predictably, the title and cover caught my eye. My curiosity was piqued.

I didn’t hesitate one moment.

The book tells the story of Orion (with three dots on the I), a young boy who finds the world scary and is frightened by many things, particularly the dark. At night, he has a difficult time sleeping; he’s afraid of every sound he hears and every nook and cranny.

He tries to face his fears, but can’t seem to come up with a plan that works for him. It’s only when the Dark takes physical form and visits him that Orion is able to see that the dark is really not that scary after all – and hides in its shadows many sources of fun.

‘Orion and the Dark’ is a simple book clearly designed for younger audiences, but it’s well-conceived. As an adult reader, I found it somewhat predictable, but I have no doubt that its intended readership would absolutely love its story and message.

In particular, the eye-catching art will please readers, young and old. While Yarlett’s character design for Orion is merely okay, almost everything else was pure joy. The Dark itself was a lovely Barbapapa-esque blob consisting of a starry black and blue night and celestial colours.

I quite enjoyed the presentation on most pages; I especially like the way the author used watercolours and pencils to add textures and detail. And I really liked the added touch of having a die-cut arm on certain pages to make the Dark shake hands and wish Orion goodbye.

Nice.

‘Orion and the Dark’ is only Emma Yarlett’s second picture book. I haven’t yet read her first, ‘Sidney, Sierra and the Moon’, but if it’s anything like this one, I’m sure that it’s equally a delight. I will make a point of checking it out, and Yarlett’s future releases.

And I’d certainly recommend this one to parents with young children. It’s not just a good time, but it could be a pleasant way to open up discussions on fears and how to face them. For that reason alone, ‘Orion and the Dark’ is well worth the purchase.

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