CM . . . .
Volume V Number 13 . . . . February 26, 1999
For ever so long I thought the night was a dreadful creature. I called her Señora Regañona. I put a little light under my covers. Now I would sleep! She would never dare to come after me as long as the light shone bright. My glowing bed would even drive her out of my room. But my light kept me awake.Winner of the Mexico's A la Orilla del Viento award, this picture book addresses the childhood fear of darkness and how one little Mexican girl conquers it. The story simply recounts how the child has a dream encounter with the fearful night she names Señora Regañona - or Old Grouch - and forces it to do her bidding. This behavior enables her to diminish her fear by controlling its source, and, thereafter, she greets the dark with anticipation rather than apprehension.
The illustrations for this bedtime story are quite remarkable. Domi has used vivid water colours that blend and swirl to the edges of the double-page spreads. As befitting a book about the night, there is very little white except the white text placed on black borders at the bottom of each page. Using a folk-art style that is quite childlike in execution, Domi's figures are bold and impressionist rather than detailed and realistic. The final pages in dramatic black, showing just a head in the lower left page and eyes in the upper right page, reinforce the conclusion that the child is no longer afraid of the dark and can sleep without her night light.
Alison News is the Coordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland.
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