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The Darkest Dark
     

The Darkest Dark

4.0 1
by Chris Hadfield, Kate Fillion (With), The Fan Brothers (Illustrator)
 

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Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan's lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible.

Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he's a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem--at night, Chris doesn't feel

Overview

Inspired by the childhood of real-life astronaut Chris Hadfield and brought to life by Terry and Eric Fan's lush, evocative illustrations, The Darkest Dark will encourage readers to dream the impossible.

Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he's a brave astronaut, exploring the universe. Only one problem--at night, Chris doesn't feel so brave. He's afraid of the dark.

But when he watches the groundbreaking moon landing on TV, he realizes that space is the darkest dark there is--and the dark is beautiful and exciting, especially when you have big dreams to keep you company.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 07/04/2016
Canadian astronaut Hadfield and collaborator Fillion tell the story of young Chris, who loves space but can’t bear his own room once the lights are out. It’s 1969, and Chris’s parents tell him that if he can’t stay in his own bed, he won’t be able to go watch the moon landing on the neighbor’s TV the following evening. The moon landing is mind-boggling in itself, but something even more important catches Chris’s attention: “He’d never really noticed how dark it was there. Outer space was the darkest dark ever.” This new dark holds infinite promise, and it makes the ordinary dark of his bedroom less daunting. The Fan brothers (The Night Gardener) switch easily between fantasy elements (furry aliens with glowing eyes lurk in Chris’s bedroom) and documentary images (the snowy pictures of the moon landing on the neighbors’ TV screen). The idea that a famous astronaut was once afraid of the dark may win some recalcitrant bed-goers’ hearts, and readers with dreams of space travel will jump at this. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Rick Broadhead, Rick Broadhead & Associates. Illustrators’ agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Praise for The Darkest Dark:
* "The Fan brothers (The Night Gardener) switch easily between fantasy elements and documentary images...The idea that a famous astronaut was once afraid of the dark may win some recalcitrant bed-goers' hearts, and readers with dreams of space travel will jump at this."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Children's Literature - Linda Sweitzer
More than anything in this world, Chris to be an astronaut. He builds spaceships out of cardboard boxes or uses the bathtub to explore and chase aliens away from earth. He is always busy doing astronaut stuff, so he does not like to sleep; but when he does, it is with Mom and Dad in their bed. Every night is the same—they check under his bed, in his closet, and even in his dresser until they declare there are no aliens. They even try arming him with a bell to call them when he becomes too frightened (not a good idea!). Exhausted, his parents explain that if he cannot sleep in his own bed, they will not be able to take him to the neighbor’s to watch the Apollo 11 moon landing on television. So, Chris pushes through his fears of the dark, where all manner of alien lives, and finds a wonderful dream of being a boy in space waiting for him. Accompanied by Fillion, real-life Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield recollects his own boyhood dreams, inspiring readers to find the beauty of the “darkest dark,” no matter where it is, and to pursue their dreams. With digitally colored, graphite renditions, the Fan brothers bring to life the boyhood memories and dreams of “one of the world’s most accomplished astronauts.” Readers will enjoy the additional biographical information, as well as family and career photographs, all included at the end of the book. Reviewer: Linda Sweitzer; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
10/01/2016
PreS-Gr 2—Canadian astronaut Hadfield presents an uplifting tale about a boy whose deep-rooted fears are eclipsed by the potency and possibility of his dreams for the future. It's July 1969, and Chris spends his days piloting his cardboard-box rocket, battling extraterrestrials, and voyaging to distant planets. But at night, fear of the dark has him seeing terrifying shadow aliens everywhere and seeking safety in his parents' bed. Everything changes when he watches the Apollo 11 moon landing on television and catches an awestruck glimpse of outer space, "the darkest dark ever." Later, unsettling shadows still occupy his unlit room, but Chris is different: with eyes newly opened to "the power and mystery and velvety black beauty of the dark," he can't wait to explore the night sky—a dream that will always keep him company (and ultimately come true). Rendered in graphite and digitally colored in dusky hues, the luminous illustrations provide realistic portrayals of the action along with emotionally evocative depictions of the fantastical elements, from the just-menacing-enough coal black silhouettes of nighttime creatures to a wonder-filled dreamscape showing the pajama-clad space-helmeted boy (and his loyal pug companion) floating above his bed surrounded by stars and planets, rocket ships, and animals. Back matter includes a biography, a reassuring message from the author, and photos. VERDICT A splendid story for soothing night fears, fostering future explorers, and teaching children that not even the sky's the limit when it comes to dreaming big.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
2016-07-20
Young Chris is afraid of the dark until he sees the Eagle land on the moon and is moved by the beauty of space.By day, little Chris flies his cardboard rocket on important missions, fighting imaginary ETs and heading to Mars. But by night, the blond, white boy is struggling to sleep on his own, repeatedly waking his parents. Then on July 20, 1969, he witnesses Neil Armstrong’s historic moon walk and realizes that while nothing in his dark room has changed, he has changed. Chris now wants “to explore every corner of the night sky.” Text and illustrations crescendo as the boy—whose bed is floating among fantastical imaginings in space—realizes that in the dark he is never alone, because he has dreams of possibility. The graphite illustrations, digitally colored in a cool palette, glow with a soft, luxurious sense of light. Full of rich texture and value, with captivating compositions and hidden hints, the artwork is stunning; however, the generic stylization of the main character’s face is disappointing given the amount of photographic referencing and meticulous detailing surrounding it. The book includes moving backmatter on astronaut and co-author Hadfield’s life, including photographs and illustrated mementos, and an inspiring message from Hadfield about the wonders of the night sky. An uplifting, valuable addition to the “scared of the dark” bookshelf and a must for the budding space explorer (or really, any dreamer). (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316394727
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
09/13/2016
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
991
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD550L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Chris Hadfield is one of the most seasoned and accomplished astronauts in the world. In May 2013, Hadfield returned to Earth after serving as Commander of the International Space Station, where he and his crew lived for five months (his third mission). Chris frequently speaks to audiences throughout the US and Canada about space exploration and science education.

Terry Fan received his formal art training at Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. His work is a blend of traditional and contemporary techniques, using ink or graphite mixed with digital. He spends his days (and nights) creating magical paintings, portraits, and prints. Together with his brother Eric, he wrote and illustrated the critically-acclaimed picture book, The Night Gardener.

Eric Fan is an artist and writer who lives in Toronto, Canada. He attended the Ontario College of Art and Design where he studied illustration, sculpture, and film. He has a passion for vintage bikes, clockwork contraptions, and impossible dreams. His widely-praised debut picture book, The Night Gardener, was a collaboration with his brother Terry.

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The Darkest Dark 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
PLensey More than 1 year ago
Fun book, great illustrations, and written by/about an astronaut. What more could you want? This was a fun read, even as an adult. I was curious if it would be the sort of book that would make kids who weren't already afraid of the dark afraid of the dark, but it's definitely not. The "aliens" are fun looking and Chris' fear of the dark is treated in a fairly light-hearted manner in a way that I think would have help "scared of the dark" me as a kid, replacing fear with the excitement of possibilities. What I love most though is that it gives kids an idea of what seeing man walk on the moon for the first time felt like. I wasn't born yet when it happened, but I felt like I was transported back in time for the event.