cover image Small Blue and the Deep Dark Night

Small Blue and the Deep Dark Night

Jon Davis. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-16466-6

In his first outing as both author and illustrator, Davis (Stuck with the Blooz) uses gnomish pen-and-ink drawings to conjure up the “Gremlins and goblins, with empty, rumbling bellies, licking their lips, waiting for me in the dark” that Small Blue, a rabbit, feels sure are lurking in her bedroom. Davis resists the urge to draw creatures as scary as Small Blue’s thoughts: the imaginary goblins are small, blobby creatures with mild expressions, clearly anxious to please. Big Brown—who’s precisely the kind of towering, furry bear one longs to take one’s nighttime fears to—doesn’t deny Small Blue’s worries (“There could be...”), but suggests another way to look at things: “How do you know it wasn’t a delightful doggies’ Saturday-night unicycle convention?” A visit to the kitchen for warm milk develops the idea: “I can imagine the kitchen playing host to a retired- pirates’ annual sock-knitting jamboree.” Soon, Small Blue gets the hang of this kind of thinking, too. A winsome, even poetic introduction to the idea of reasoning one’s way through fearfulness. Ages 4–8. Agent: Kate Johnson, Advocate Art. (Sept.)