________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 32. . . .April 22, 2016


Blanche Hates the Night.

Sibylle Delacroix.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2016.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-77147-158-9

Kindergarten-grade 1 / Ages 5-6.

Review by Karyn Miehl.

*** /4


Blanche Hates the Night focuses on young Blanche who hates the night and does whatever she can to avoid going to sleep. Blanche sings, jumps on her bed and plays. And of course, she wakes the household in doing so!


Every day ends the same. Night always falls. Blanche does not like the night. Actually, Blanche hates the night! So Blanche puts on a concert to chase away the moon and wake up the sun. But it’s not the sun Blanche wakes . . .

      Blanche Hates the Night is a book that amused my five-year old, but it comes across as geared towards an even younger audience. The cute images that accompany the text are really what make the story enjoyable. Yes, many children can relate to a fear or dislike of the dark, but the images in this text add humour to Blanche’s way of handling the night.

     Each image incorporates clever details that take the text to the next level. For instance, Blanche’s facial expressions clearly show how she feels in each scene of the book, as do the expressions of Blanche’s pet cat. The reader also never sees Blanche’s parents, but their shadows do fall across her floor, and their hands emerge from behind the doors to turn off lights or to point at Blanche. Also endearing are the images of the cat and owl that are with Blanche throughout the story. The owl stuffy, on some pages, appears to be a live creature (and for children who love and play with stuffies, this is something they can connect with — that Blanche’s owl ‘plays with’ her during her attempts to avoid sleep).

     The ways in which I feel this book is suited to a younger audience are through the appearance of Blanche (she is portrayed as a very young girl), and through Blanche’s actions. Doing things like tumbling on her bed, using her bed as trampoline and taking off (and leaving off) her pyjama shirt are things that seem to be toddler-like in behaviour rather than the actions of an older child.

     Also interesting to note is the colour of each page (the pages in which Blanche is in the dark are blue, and the pages in which Blanche’s door is open and light spills in are more sepia-toned). This detail could provide a point of discussion for parents and young readers. Further to this, the text is not all printed horizontally across the page. Words added to the images (ex. Blanche’s parent saying “Good night, my little songbird” from another room), or on pages in which Blanche is singing, ‘flow’ on the page as a voice might flow through the air. This is an added visual feature which, again, might provide a point of discussion.

     Overall, Blanche Hates the Night is a cute book that many parents can relate to and that young children will find entertaining.


Karyn Miehl, a mother of two and a secondary school English teacher, lives in Kingsville, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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