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The Darkest Dark Hardcover – September 13, 2016
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Canadian astronaut Hadfield presents an uplifting tale about a boy whose deep-rooted fears are eclipsed by the potency and possibility of his dreams for the future. It's July 1969, and Chris spends his days piloting his cardboard-box rocket, battling extraterrestrials, and voyaging to distant planets. But at night, fear of the dark has him seeing terrifying shadow aliens everywhere and seeking safety in his parents' bed. Everything changes when he watches the Apollo 11 moon landing on television and catches an awestruck glimpse of outer space, "the darkest dark ever." Later, unsettling shadows still occupy his unlit room, but Chris is different: with eyes newly opened to "the power and mystery and velvety black beauty of the dark," he can't wait to explore the night sky—a dream that will always keep him company (and ultimately come true). Rendered in graphite and digitally colored in dusky hues, the luminous illustrations provide realistic portrayals of the action along with emotionally evocative depictions of the fantastical elements, from the just-menacing-enough coal black silhouettes of nighttime creatures to a wonder-filled dreamscape showing the pajama-clad space-helmeted boy (and his loyal pug companion) floating above his bed surrounded by stars and planets, rocket ships, and animals. Back matter includes a biography, a reassuring message from the author, and photos. VERDICT A splendid story for soothing night fears, fostering future explorers, and teaching children that not even the sky's the limit when it comes to dreaming big.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
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