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Posted & filed under Children's Book Reviews

Darkest Dark.  Young Chris spends all day inside a cardboard rocket ship, bravely saving the planet from aliens, and boldly blasting off to Mars.  However, when evening rolls around, he fears the menacing dark shadows that fill his room, and he seeks shelter in his parents’ bed.  After many sleepless nights, Chris has an epiphany while watching the historic Apollo 11 moon landing on television.  When he comprehends the “the power and mystery and velvety black beauty” of the universe, he realizes that the darkness is not to be feared, but is waiting to be explored.

Terry and Eric Fan’s atmospheric, graphite illustrations capture a particular time and place.  Small, evocative details fill the pages, like a 1969 calendar hanging on the wall, a Toronto Daily Star newspaper with a “Moon-Bound” headline, and a fuzzy image of Walter Cronkite on a black and white console television.

A brief biography of Hadfield is included at the end of the book, along with scrapbook-style photographs, including his family in 1966, and a candid shot of him playing guitar onboard the International Space Station in 2013.  The Darkest Dark is the perfect picture book for soothing night time fears, as well as for encouraging children to reach for their dreams.  As Chris Hadfield demonstrates with aplomb, dreams “actually can come true.”

  • The Darkest Dark

    By Chris Hadfield, Illustrated by Terry and Eric Fan, Published by Tundra Books: Penguin Random House of Canada
    • ISBN 13: 978-1-101-91862-3
Linda Ludke
Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library.  Her reviews have appeared in Quill and Quire, School Library Journal and CM:  Canadian Review of Materials.  When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.