10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Ray Bradbury is not often thought of as a writer of horror stories, although certainly the idea of living in a world where firemen were the people who burned books would be just about the most horrific thing a writer could imagine. But E.C. comics like "Tales of the Crypt" were doing version of his horror tales, so he certainly has the credentials in that field. What makes "Switch on the Night" unusual is that it is the only picture book for very young children written by Bradbury. While it is not exactly a horror story, it is certainly based on a basic theme in horror, being afraid of the dark. However, what Bradbury does with that theme is simply magic.
We begin with the declaration, "Once there was a little boy who didn't like the night." What he liked were lanterns and lamps, torches and tapers, and basically anything that created light. So he never went outside at night, although from his window he could see the other children playing on their lawns on summer nights. At night, he slept in the only room in town with a light on: he did not like light switches, because they switched off the light, and he never switched off the light. But then comes the night when his parents were away and the boy turned on every light in the house to keep away the night. Then there came a knock at the door and there was a young girl who said her name was Dark, and who told the little boy that she would introduce him to the Night so that they could be friends.
Needless to say, if you have a child who is afraid of the dark, this book can help them get over it (I bet some parents will read the book and instead of passing it along to their child will simply follow Dark's lead and play it out for real). "Switch on the Night" was originally published in 1955 with illustrations by Madeleine Gekiere. This newer edition has artwork by Leo and Diane Dillon (whose dedication is to M.C. Escher, which you will understand as soon as you see a few of their pictures). As a rule I am willing to pick up anything the Dillons illustrate, having been introduced to their work for the myriad covers they have done for pretty much every hardback and paperback collection of Harlan Ellison's work published since the 1960s. These illustrations demonstrate a softer side to their artwork and help to create the dreamlike quality necessary to the telling of this particular tale.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2000
A delightful journey with a young, lonely boy who lives only in the light because of his fear of the dark. He meets a young girl that shows him the beauty and magic of the dark, along with all the creatures that live in the dark. He learns that he has a choice to 'turn on' the light or the dark.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2011
As a child I was always terrified of the dark. I know it is a very common problem with children but I believe my case was a little more serious. To this day I have to sleep with the lights on if I'm alone and even when someone is with me I still get goosebumps. I wish I had this book when I was a kid to help me realize there is nothing to be afraid of. Beautiful illustrations and anything by Ray Bradbury is sure to please.
on November 16, 2014
This is a great book to use with your students for a writing activity! After reading it aloud to your class, discuss fun things they can do in the night. Then, let them write their nighttime story on black paper with silver gel pens! Have them illustrate their story too! Pictures of fireflies, frogs, crickets, stars, the moon, etc... Display the writings on a bulletin board that says, "We Switched on the Night!" Ray Bradbury did an awesome job with this picture book!
on October 18, 2008
We received this book as a gift for our baby when she was three months. I read other stories to her but THIS one is perfect. The story is wonderful, the narration flows beatifully, and the best part is that it is long (short) enough to fit in perfectly with our "nite-nite" routine. She's 16 months-old now and most nights we still read this story to her. I've read dozens of other stories but this one is by far my favorite.
on March 8, 2013
This is a short, great story from Ray Bradbury. Don't let the author's name fool you. This is great for children that are afraid of the dark. Just a small story about a boy who is afraid of the dark and meets a "friend" who shows him how to "Switch on the Night" and conquer his fears. Takes less than 7-10 minutes to read to your child, well written. A treasure.