Cuteness alert! From pediatrician and author Brian Barlics comes Brady Needs a Nightlight, an unusual story of a bat who is afraid of the dark. The tale sounded so delightful, I actually asked for a review copy from TLC Book Tours. I wasn’t disappointed! Barlics provides the perfect creative twist to Brady’s dilemma. In addition, the four-line rhyming stanzas are fun, while the full-page, bright, cartoonish illustrations are attractive.
Peruse children’s picture books and you’ll find tons of stories about dogs, cats, horses, and even more exotic animals such as guinea pigs, hamsters, bears, tigers, and rats. Stories about bats, however, are less common. That’s a reason I appreciated the Silverwing set by Canadian author Kenneth Oppell. It’s also why I felt attracted to Brady Needs a Nightlight, the first book in a new picture book series. I admire how, even in this short and fanciful tale, one can learn accurate facts about bats such as they enjoy caves, the shade, and darkness. One can also gain an awareness of what creatures belong to the night, such as chirping crickets, screeching owls, and howling coyotes. Moreover, through Brady’s encounters with fireflies, children will surely gain an appreciation for these playful and glowing little creatures.
The conflict, being afraid of the dark, is of course from far being original. What makes Brady Needs a Nightlight worth reading is how well Barlics thinks with a child’s mind. Things that make noise and shadows in the night can be frightening, which is why children often demand a night light. How true Brady’s experience is for them: “The night was also scary with no lights to be found. Brady trembled, shook, and shivered. He jumped at every sound.” Also, as I noted at the start, there is the unique solution. The fireflies are looking for new night friends. Brady is looking for permanent light at night, which will let him play without fear but also take time for much-needed rest. Brady and the fireflies make the perfect companions!
As much as I like this book, I must comment on the price. Hardcover editions of picture books sell for between $10 and $12; Where the Wild Things Are, a classic, sells for $15. This book, in paperback, sells for $15. I think that’s high.
I love incongruity of a bat being afraid of the dark and making friends with adorable fireflies. I can’t wait to discover what Barlics will do with his next book. Brady Needs a Nightlight is a delight.
My rating? Bag it: Carry it with you. Make it a top priority to read.
How would you rate this book?