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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
When Night Didn't Come
by Poly Bernatene
Age Range: 6-8
As the sun goes down, the night doesn't come. With no darkness, no moon and no stars, someone is going to have to do something about it.
When The Night Didn't Come is a clever, inventive wordless picture book. The magical story veers between a comic strip and conventional illustrative style. The challenge of there being no words is that it can be made into many different kinds of tale because it's all down to what can be read into it. As the story develops new elements can always be added.
Poly Bernatene's vibrant illustrations have a unique theatrical style. The backdrop appears like a backstage of a theatre with the reader being taken on a journey behind the scenes to explore the mysteries of the universe. The illustrations seem to travel in time through the ages, all mixed up but blending seamlessly together. There are hints of Renaissance Italy with the maps and charts; Victorian London with the costumes and bicycle, and the contemporary world with the final images of the children towards the end of the book.
This is quite a complex picture book but one that parents will want to go back to time and time again. Older children will be able to read it and bring their own imagination to bear on it too.