Poetry Friday: Flashlight Night


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!

Flashlight Night

Hardcover, 32 pages
Boyds Mills Press (September 19, 2017)
Source: Publisher



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  • Reply mbhmaine

    I already had this book in my “Save for Later” cart, and was strongly considering ordering it once it was published in September. Your review ensures that I will click the pre-order button! Thanks for the sneak peek and review and congrats again to Matt!

    August 4, 2017 at 11:19 am
  • Reply Matt Forrest Esenwine

    Thank you so much for this wonderful review, Jane – I really appreciate!

    August 4, 2017 at 11:29 am
  • Reply Linda Mitchell

    Thanks for a wonderful review! Can’t wait to get my hands on this one. I used to love playing with flashlights as a kid. Still do!

    August 4, 2017 at 1:43 pm
  • Reply lindabaie

    I just read my copy to my grandchildren who demanded a second read. It is a marvelous book, and I love your review, Jane. This will fly off the shelves, won’t it?

    August 4, 2017 at 2:25 pm
  • Reply Tara

    What a wonderful book – about something all children never seem to tire of: playing with flashlights.

    August 4, 2017 at 7:05 pm
  • Reply Tabatha

    Sounds like a book that would be good to re-read — the most important quality in a picture book!

    August 4, 2017 at 9:25 pm
  • Reply Violet Nesdoly

    Great review, Jane! You make Matt’s book sound quite irresistible.

    August 5, 2017 at 3:28 am
  • Reply cvarsalona

    What a great review you gave to Matt’s book. I have been looking at the stunning pages and reviews since Matt announced it. How wonderful that you brought out the best in this book, Jane.

    August 5, 2017 at 4:34 am
  • Reply Catherine Flynn

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Matt’s book. Can’t wait to read it!

    August 5, 2017 at 9:28 am
  • Reply maryleehahn

    Can’t wait to read this!

    August 5, 2017 at 11:01 am
    • Reply Matt Forrest Esenwine

      Thank you, Mary Lee, I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of it!

      August 5, 2017 at 3:31 pm
  • Reply Brenda Davis Harsham

    Wonderful review. Can’t wait to read Matt’s book.

    August 5, 2017 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply dmayr

    I got a copy of the F&Gs and had intended to write a review, but yours just about says it all, Jane. I’ll just link to your review and write, “What she said.”

    August 5, 2017 at 5:47 pm
    • Reply Matt Forrest Esenwine

      Thanks, Diane – any good words are appreciated, even if they’re someone else’s! 😉

      August 5, 2017 at 11:10 pm
  • Reply mandyrobek

    This looks like an interesting read and one students can connect with. Thanks for sharing.

    August 6, 2017 at 2:09 am
  • Reply Donna Smith

    Sounds like a book the grandson will be getting for Christmas!

    August 6, 2017 at 2:20 am
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