Emily Haworth Booth
This is a story of a little boy who was afraid of the dark. Not so unusual you may think, but this little boy is a prince who decides that when he becomes king, he will actually ban the dark. This story explores what happens when, helped by his advisors, he tries to do just that.
This is a clever, engaging story which encourages readers to think about the importance of periods of darkness in our lives and also how power might be used, abused or resisted. The predominantly yellow and black colour scheme emphasises the artificially created permanent day time in the story and contrasts with the colourful burst of fireworks at the end of the book.
Share the story
As you read the book aloud pause occasionally to think together about what is happening. For example, you could pause after the first two double page spreads to consider how the king could ban the dark. Pause again to look at the page where people are celebrating all night, think about what you see in the pictures and what might happen next – will people just go on celebrating? What problems might there be?
When children are familiar with the story it would be fun for them to join in with the voices of the advisors. You could make up extra conversations too. Children developing independence as readers could read alternate pages or lines with you.
Talk more about the story
Talk about unfamiliar words and ideas eg ban, rumour, reign, revolt, banished, artificial
Discussing the rumours might lead to a discussion of fake news – eg the suggestion that the dark is stealing your money
Think together about what the king tried to do. Should he have done this? What advice would your child have given to the young king about his plan?
Talk about why people are often afraid of the dark and the sort of things that can reassure or help.
Things to make and do
Play the story
Together you could role play a scene from the story with one of you being the king and the other one of the advisors.
You could set up and imaginary newsroom and your child could pretend to be a reporting news from the palace that the dark is going to be banned and why.
You could have an imaginary interview with one of you as a reporter and the other a member of the public talking what it’s like now that dark has been banned.