Things That Go Bump in the Night: Small Blue and the Deep Dark Night by Jon Davis
SMALL BLUE THOUGHT OF CREEPY THINGS.
"GREMLINS AND GOBLINS, WITH EMPTY, RUMBLING BELLIES,
LICKING THEIR LIPS, WAITING FOR ME IN THE DARK!"
"BIG BROWN! BIG BROWN!" SHE CALLED.
Small Blue, a rabbity young thing, awakens in the middle of the night and thinks of terrible night visitors.
Big Brown, a rumpled sleepy-eyed brown bear, comes into her room, pats her head, and suggests that the things she imagines could just have likely been a "delightful doggies' unicycle convention!"
Little Blue doesn't think so, but when Big Brown turns on the light, there's nothing to see but her cozy room, toys scattered on the floor and books neatly shelved. Big Brown suggests they share cups of hot milk and talk about it all.
But the hall is dark, and Small Blue is sure that furry spiders and flappity bats are skulking there. Big Brown suggests perhaps a "smily spacemen's zero-gravity shindig" in progress instead.
"WELL, MAYBE..." SAID SMALL BLUE.
Big Brown hoists Little Blue to his shoulders as they head into the kitchen, where Little Blue opines that witches with warts and clacking skeletons await her. Big Brown adds an alternative: there could be ex-pirates sitting and knitting socks at their yearly convention.
Small Blue admits that that could be true.
A flip of the light switch reveals just a homey and tidy tiled kitchen in soft chartreuse and yellow. Big Brown settles down with Little Blue in his lap, and as they sip their milk, they watch the moon and stars in the dark sky outside the window. Little Blue is getting into the spirit of things.
"MAYBE THE STARS ARE RUNNING A RELAY RACE AROUND THE MOON, WHILE THE PLANETS CHEER THEM ON," SAYS LITTLE BLUE....
From time immemorial, kids have wakened with night terrors of ghoulies and ghosties, and long-leggedy beasties, and all things that go bump in the night. Jon Davis' new book, Small Blue and the Deep Dark Night (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014), takes a look at the flipside of the bedtime willies by suggesting that if we can conjure up scary critters, we can just as surely imagine silly stuff as well.
Davis sketches the perfect setting for this gentle tale, with his worried and wrinkly little rabbit and his rounded, rumply big brown bear, who, rather than ridiculing the youngster's imaginings, simply tops them with preposterous tall tale possibilities. The artist's backgrounds are homey and reassuring, done in a palette of pinkish browns and soft greens and grays and wiggly, broken black line, and his characters, even the imagined ones, are a bit retro, rather reminiscent of Herriman's Krazy Kat cartoon style, with just a hint of Pooh and Piglet's adventures--all calculated to banish the night terrors for young readers. This is a fine "bednight" story for young children to help keep the things that go bump in the night at bay.