Dark Night Book Poster Image

Dark Night

Darkly comic, empowering take on tackling nighttime fears.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Themes of working together and overcoming fears.

Positive role models

Though frightened, Felix trusts his new friend and the pair venture bravely back out into the dark night.

Violence & scariness

A dark forest at night, scary animals, a monstrous mask -- but all’s well that ends well.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know this sly book is quite dark at the beginning -- the young, quaking hero seems to be in a tough spot. But the rest of the story will ease any jitters and get kids giggling as fears are conquered. There’s not much of concern here -- just some sharp-toothed creatures and dark shadows.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Little Felix is walking, alone and scared, in a forest at night when he hears a terrifying noise. He hides in a hollow tree as a wolf arrives and starts a fire. This is bad -- but then it gets worse. The wolf is scared away by a tiger, and then the tiger is frightened off by a crocodile. Terrified Felix finds his way into the cozy kitchen of a smart rabbit who offers to help him return safely home with the aid of a fearsome disguise.

Is it any good?


Dorothee de Monfreid, the French illustrator of I’d Really Like to Eat a Child, serves up another slightly subversive tale. This one is about confronting fear: Holding hands with a good friend, reasoning with the animals, and tricks of the mind won’t solve Felix’s problem -- those are wild beasts, after all! There’s no way around it: He will have to turn the tables on those frightening creatures, with bravery and a clever ruse.
Kids will be gratified to see Felix and the little rabbit prove themselves bigger and scarier than the intimidating beasts. Felix, clad in cheerful red pajamas, is an endearing young hero. Some kids might be a bit nervous as the story begins, but they’ll laugh at the sight of the formerly fierce animals quivering behind trees as costumed Felix makes his way home. The sky lightens to bright pink, banishing the dark night, and Felix and the rabbit celebrate with a hot chocolate toast. Cheers, indeed!

The mood is a bit surreal and spooky, but the cartoonish illustrations provide warmth and comic relief.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about bravery. Felix is small and scared, but he acts as if he’s a big, scary monster. Talk about some situations when you felt scared and vulnerable. Have you ever tried to act as if you were bigger or braver than you really felt?

  • What other stories can you think of where something seems scary at first and is really scared of you?

Book details

Author:Dorothee de Monfreid
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date:September 22, 2009
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):3 - 5

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Parent of a 2 and 4 year old Written byCarrieRogers2 January 15, 2010

Great for kids dealing with their own fears and night-time willies!!

My girls picked this themselves just based on the cover. It is a great simple, imaginative and clever story that will really help your children understand how to understand and confront their fears. It is an awesome book to read also because the style is very different from mainstream,over-formulated books that are out everywhere. The rabbit is a great role model for any little kid who needs an example of someone small and quiet being a brave and cunning hero. If your child is not yet addressing fear of the dark or toddler anxieties, I would skip this. It is a little scary in a quiet & spooky kind of way.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models