I’m thrilled today to be sharing my review of a very special debut picture book from one of our very own Poetry Friday friends!
Flashlight Night is an ode to the power of imagination and the wonder of books. Three children use a flashlight to light a path around their backyard at night; in the flashlight’s beam another world looms. Our heroes encounter spooky woods, a fearsome tiger, a time-forgotten tomb, an Egyptian god, a sword-fighting pirate, and a giant squid. With ingenuity, they vanquish all, then return to their tree house―braver, closer, and wiser than before―to read the books that inspired their adventure.
From the first line of Flashlight Night to the last, author Matt Forrest Esenwine‘s talents as a poet are strikingly apparent. Flashlight Night has been referred to as “balladic” and “delicious”, and I would have to agree. The text is tightly woven and carefully crafted, with every word in the spare, focused lines placed exactly where it should be. The author obviously understands and applies the old adage of “less is more”, with delightful results.
Three children use their flashlights to light up their nighttime backyard, and use their vivid imaginations to fill each corner with incredible otherworldly scenes. From a ferocious tiger to a giant squid, a swashbuckling pirate to an Egyptian god, there’s no limit to the worlds the children conjure.
Still, the gently rhyming text never lets the scenes become too scary or intimidating, and the characters’ bedtime adventures are eventually brought to a satisfying end.
Fred Koehler’s highly detailed illustrations capture the scale of the children’s imaginations, and effectively blur the lines between what is real and what is an illusion. This creates a sort of dreamlike quality that beautifully matches the bedtime theme. There’s also a delightful cumulative aspect to the illustrations, which creates delightfully madcap scenes.
Flashlight Night is definitely worth checking out when it publishes in the United States on September 19, 2017!
Hardcover, 32 pages
Boyds Mills Press (September 19, 2017)