Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett

The world is full of frightening things, but to little Orion, nothing is scarier than the dark — that is until one night The Dark decides that it’s time for a little personal intervention, and takes him on an enlightening and exhilarating adventure.

Styled as a rounded, cuddly and genial figure along the lines of Big Hero 6’s Baymax and Raymond Briggs’s Snowman, the author’s disarming personification of darkness can help to change a frightened child’s ominous perception of the dark to that of a benevolent presence. We’re big fans of Sidney, Stella and the MoonEmma Yarlett‘s brilliant debut picture book — and it’s nice to see that Orion and the Dark retains her inventive, humorous and entertaining style of storytelling, coupled with her trademark detailed illustrations complete with beautiful hand-lettering.

Like Raymond Briggs and Oliver Jeffers, Emma Yarlett seems to have mastered the delicate balance and art of maximising the potential of every single page without ever overwhelming the reader. There are lots of witty details in the illustrations for the benefit of the older kids and/or grown-ups reading the book, but little ones will also love the creatively designed pages and, of course, the heartwarming story.

In a way, a fear of the dark often stems from a fear of the unknown, so it makes perfect sense that in order to overcome it, you’ll have to get to know it better — as one would a friend.

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