The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield and The Fan Brothers
|The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield and The Fan Brothers|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: An inspirational look at the childhood fear of a boy who would grow up to command the International Space Station. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 48||Date: June 2017|
|Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Back in the nineteen sixties in a cottage on Stag Island in Southern Ontario, Canada there was a boy called Chris who loved playing with rockets. Actually they were made out of cardboard boxes, but they were rockets to Chris and he and his dog would play space games all day. He really didn't have time for anything else and he certainly didn't have time to sleep. Well, actually, there's a secret here: Chris was afraid of the dark and everyone knows that when it's very dark the worst sort of aliens come into the bedroom. Night after night his parents worked very hard to get him to sleep in his own bedroom and it was only the threat that if Chris didn't get into his own bed and go to sleep everyone would be too tired to go next door the following evening to watch something special on television. There was only the one television on the island, you see.
So Chris got into his bed and finally he (and his dog) managed to go to sleep. He had a wonderful dream: he and his dog Albert flew his spaceship all the way to the moon. The next night just about everybody on the island gathered at the neighbour's house - and watched astronauts, real, live astronauts, land on the moon. Chris was mesmerised: he'd never realised just how dark it was in space. It was this experience which changed Chris - he was no longer afraid of the dark.
It's a lovely story, isn't it? Well, it gets even better because the little boy Chris who was afraid of the dark was Commander Chris Hadfield, who would grow up to be an astronaut, orbit the earth thousands of times on three separate missions and then spend nearly five months in space as the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station. On summer nights he still likes to sit on the dock on Stag Island and watch for the ISS to pass overhead. Even on the darkest, moonless nights the spaceship's light is clearly visible.
Picture books usually have one point which they want to make, but there are two excellent messages in The Darkest Dark. The first is about fear of the dark and it's good for children who are frightened to know that brave men were once frightened of it too. It's a fear that can, and will be overcome and being afraid of it, having been afraid of it, is not something to be ashamed of. Chris Hadfield has told everyone! The other message is that dreams can come true. Chris wanted to be an astronaut but when he decided that was what he wanted to do it simply wasn't possible for a Canadian to be an astronaut, but when the opportunity came he'd worked hard and was in a position to take advantage of it. Chris is an excellent role model for all young people.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
If your young astronaut would like their own spaceship we can recommend Convertible Spaceship by Claire Philip and Belinda Gallagher. If going to bed is a problem, have a look at Bookbag's Top Ten Picture Books For Overcoming Bedtime Woes.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield and The Fan Brothers at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield and The Fan Brothers at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.