Book Review, Children's Fiction

BOOK REVIEW: The Elephant That Ate The Night by Bing Bai

We don’t really review that many picture books on STORGY Kids but this one came through my letter box and I couldn’t not write about it.

My daughter for a long time now has become somewhat scared of the dark, we’ve bought her a nightlight and it stays on every night. When we go to bed and she’s fast asleep we creep in and turn it off (we’ve got electricity bills to think about, plus the possibility of a fire – don’t judge us!) but when we come in the following morning to wake her, the light has been turned on again. Every night without fail, that is until we read her this book.

This book focuses on an Elephant who likes nothing better than to eat the night. Darkness and shadows are his starter course, but the night is his main cuisine. We learn that the tiny animals of the forest are scared of the night, the monkey, the bears and various other little baby animals which are not sleeping well because they are scared of the darkness.

They soon find out that the Elephant loves nothing more than eating the night – so he sets about eating it all up, so much so that the Elephant turns black. He wanders off stuffed and falls asleep.

But the forest soon find out that they can’t sleep, that the night time is what they need, that in constant daytime they grow tired and weary but with no darkness to separate the night and the day they become so tired doing things all the time, that they sleep all through the day too.

Obviously if you delve into the story too much (as adults sometimes do – myself included) – you see the plot holes. ‘Well if they are sleeping why do they need the night‘ etc. But for my daughter she really got it, she saw that there was a purpose for the night, that it wasn’t something to fear but something that said it was time to sleep and recharge those batteries – and I guess that is the magic of picture books, they convey things with pictures and words that a novel just lacks.

I’d recommend this book to any parents out there who have a child who is scared of the dark, you never know it might just help.

The Elephant That Ate The Night is published by Everything With Words and is available here.

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Reviewed by Ross Jeffery

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