Children’s Book of the Week: A Dark, Dark Tale

A Dark, Dark Tale by Ruth Brown

My kids can be scaredy-cats when it comes to some things. I remember reading one Anthony Browne story to Henry, and we got to a page with a giant gorilla, and Henry just snapped the book shut and said, “I don’t want to read any more.” We never finished. And we barely got through Jumpy Jack and Googily (we probably only got through it because it was clear something silly was going on).

So it’s a little unbelievable to me that they love A Dark, Dark Tale because, until you get to the end, it really does build up with lots of scary suspense. But it’s a fast read, so the suspense doesn’t last long, and it’s perfect for giving you that shivery feeling without anything scary actually happening. The story starts in a “dark, dark moor” then goes to a “dark, dark wood” then a “dark, dark house” and a narrower and narrower focus until you’re looking at a dark, dark box in a dark, dark closet. I’ll leave it to you to find out who lives in the box, but it’s nothing scary, and you’ll all breathe a sigh of relief after all that build up. This would be a good one to read in anticipation of Halloween, to show that sometimes things can seem scarier than they really are.

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