Children’s Books: Recommended read – A Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown
A black cat makes its way across a dark, dark moor, through a dark, dark forest and into a dark, dark house, where it makes a surprising discovery.
Who’s it for?
Three to five-year-olds who enjoy a gentle scare, or children who are afraid of the dark and need reassuring that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Why should I read it?
This spooky picture book has been a bedtime favourite since 1981 and is the perfect way to introduce young children to the concept of suspense in reading. The tension ramps up page by page as the feline protagonist homes in on increasingly diminishing spaces, eventually discovering a ‘dark, dark box’.
Wondering what’s inside the box will have children squirming with anticipation – a skull, a scary doll and a ghost are all suggestions I’ve heard before – while the pay-off will leave them feeling both surprised and comforted. The repetition of the words ‘dark, dark’ throughout lends the story a musical air, and little children will enjoy ‘reading’ along as they pick up on the recurring phrase and use the creepy pictures to work out what’s going to happen next.
Best character: The occupant of the dark, dark box, whose identity I shall not reveal for fear of spoiling the surprise.
Best line: ‘And in the dark, dark box there was…’
If I like this, what other books might I like?
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
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