Review of The Dark Was Done

The Dark Was DoneThe Dark Was Done
by Lauren Stringer; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp.    g
9/22    978-1-5344-6292-2    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5344-6293-9    $10.99

“Night lights, streetlights, flashlights, and table lamps” often shine against a childhood fear: the Dark. Here gently curved indigo outlines form the Dark’s broad hands and soft face as it hides from glaring lights and frightened people trying to ward it away. Tired of being shunned, the Dark disappears, leaving people with only the light. Slowly, though, a young boy—who had been afraid of the Dark—begins to realize that without it, many beautiful things have also disappeared: the song of crickets, the twinkling of the stars, the hooting of owls. Imbued with the sense of something missing, the young boy sets out to “find the Dark and persuade the Dark to return.” Along the way, he meets a burglar who misses the Dark for the shadows it provides; a poet, too, joins them because “there is no mystery without the Dark”; a gardener longing for the scent of night-blooming jasmine falls in line. Their company continues to expand as others learn of their purpose. When at last the Dark hears the crowd’s shouting and returns, everyone’s previous fear transforms gradually into acceptance and welcome. Stringer’s watercolor illustrations beautifully capture a world bathed in both stark light and soft darkness, and her lyrical text, with a storyteller’s cadence, calls out for repeated readings.

From the November/December 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Grace McKinney
Grace McKinney Beermann

Grace McKinney Beermann holds an MA in Children's Literature from Simmons University and reviews for the Horn Book Magazine. She works at a Montessori school in St. Louis, Missouri, and writes about children's books and Montessori on the blog Cosmic Bookshelf.

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