picture book review: The Bunny’s Night-Light by Geoffrey Hayes

The Bunny’s Night-Light: A Glow-in-the-Dark Search
Written & illustrated by Geoffrey Hayes
Published by Random House, Jan 2012.
Age: 3 and up
My rating; 3.5/5 stars

If you have a child who’s afraid of the dark, The Bunny’s Night-Light by Geoffrey Hayes is one book you’ll want to get them. The text is gentle and soothing, and the illustrations sweet.

In The Bunny’s Night-Light, Bunny (in yellow footed-pjs) can’t sleep because “there’s too much dark at night” — something any child who’s afraid of the dark will identify with. So Bunny’s Papa takes Bunny out to look at all the light around them that could act as a night-light–the moon, the stars, some fireflies, a glowworm, a light from a ship in the distance, even a streetlight. But Bunny knows that none of those things are quite right. They go inside and ask Mama, who finds a night-light she had when she was a child, and it works out perfectly.

Fear of the dark is something a lot of children experience, and a night-light can be a helpful solution. This book gently introduces the idea of a night-light without any shame attached. It also brings soothing good feeling with the fanciful ways little Bunny can find light or know that there’s always light.

The text flows beautifully for most of the book, almost lyrical and definitely soothing. I found the last few pages, where a few rhymes and a bit of repetitiveness started to creep in, less well-written, and for me that interfered a bit with the enjoyment of the end of the book, but most readers probably won’t notice or care. And although I didn’t like the poem at the very end of the book, I love the closing idea–that there is always a light on somewhere (from the moon, the stars, etc.) I like how Bunny is never named or gender identified; this makes it very easy for any child to identify as Bunny.

The illustrations are cute–Bunny in footed pjs, carrying a blankie that becomes a cape, a hood, as needed, and there is a lot that is visually soothing–Papa holding and cuddling Bunny; a heart carved in the door; moths around the lantern; lights in the trees. The illustrations weren’t my favorite–there was something that didn’t quite work for me in some of the expressions and body language, or that felt a little stiff, but I think many children will find them cute and sweet. I love the texture in the drawings, and the many details in each drawing, and the boarder around each spread is a nice touch.

There is a glow-in-the-dark element that I think is brilliant to incorporate in a book about being afraid of the dark or needing a night light. All the points of light in the illustrations are glow-in-the-dark; hold the pages open briefly in the light, then turn out the light or hold the book beneath the covers and you’ll see them lit up (stars, fireflies, the glowworm, windows, etc). A child will delight in poring over those grow-in-the-dark pages, even after the story is read.

I would recommend this book to any child who is frightened of the dark.

About Cheryl Rainfield

I write the books I needed and couldn't find as a teen. I write teen fiction--paranormal fantasy and gritty realistic fiction. I'm the author of SCARS (WestSide Books, 2010) #1 ALA QuickPicks, and Governor General Literary Award Finalist, HUNTED (WestSide Books, Oct 2011), STAINED (Harcourt, 2013), The Last Dragon (HIP Books, Sept 2009), and Walking Both Sides (HIP Books, 2011). I also enjoy drawing, surfing the web, connecting with people I like, doing crafts, and being with my dog.
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