Betty Birney's Oh Bother! Someone's Afraid of the Dark! from characters by A.A. Milne
illustrated by Darrell Baker
Book review by Dimitrios Sokolakis
Afraid of the dark book
Fear of the dark: one of the most typical fears kids (and most adults, to be honest) try to deal with. When the night comes it’s always a pain to persuade your little monster that there are no other monsters in the room waiting for the lights to turn off so as to start their scary goings-on. Winnie and Piglet have to confront a case like this.
The sun is setting and another wonderful day is coming to an end in the forest where Winnie and his friends live. Winnie and Piglet return home; on their way back they find Tigger and Owl; they‘re preparing to camp out. “That sounds like fun, doesn’t it Piglet?” says Pooh as he stops to wave to their friends, but Piglet doesn’t seem to encourage the idea and keeps walking.
Pooh catches up to Piglet and they’re about to say goodnight, but Piglet doesn’t want Pooh to leave. “Walk home with me… we’ll camp inside tonight, I have a full jar of honey at home,” Piglet begs Pooh, who agrees, since he never says no to a jar of delicious honey.
As they reach Piglet’s home, Pooh points out the first star of the night; he is about to make a wish when Piglet pulls him in the door and pushes a large table in front of it. “Can’t be too careful,” Piglet says, and Pooh doesn’t really get it but he doesn’t pay much heed since he is more interested in finding the jar of honey.
Winnie and Piglet have a pleasant evening at home: they work on a jigsaw puzzle, they tell stories, they sing…. Winnie gets tired and suggests going to bed. Piglet hesitates to agree but, in the end, he concurs. When brushing their teeth Piglet becomes scared that he's glimpsed a Horralump or a Lumpaheff, but Winnie calms him down, saying it’s just his shadow. “I guess you’re right,” Piglet says, a bit worried.
At last, Piglet and Pooh are ready to go to sleep. Piglet checks under the bed for any scary Heffalumps (you know, those famous monsters that are waiting to gobble you up) and switches off the light with some trepidation. When he hears a noise, he's certain--“It’s definitely a Heffalump”--but Winnie sees that it’s just the alarm clock and calms down Piglet, who admits that his imagination is playing tricks on him.
Then, suddenly, a knock on the door; “It’s Tigger and Owl, Pooh,” a voice calls, but Piglet hears. “Tigger and a Howling Boo… that’s worse than a Heffalump.” Pooh helps Piglet see that that doesn’t make any sense, so they conclude that it’s Tigger and Owl (duh!) and they decide to open the door.
Finally, we see all four friends are sitting out in the dark staring at a beautiful night sky – and seeing themselves in the patterns of the constellations - and forgetting all about being afraid. Pooh puts his arm around Piglet. “No need to be afraid of the dark anymore… now that you know that you have a friendly piglet looking down on you,” he says. “And that piglet doesn’t look scared of the dark at all,” says a relieved Piglet. Piglet experiences the best cure for fear of the dark of all: friendship.
Oh Bother! SOMEONE’S AFRAID OF THE DARK! strengths:
A sweet story positively exploring the subject of fear, with illustrator Darell Baker capturing the visual essence of the Pooh crew.
Disney’s characters and plot practically guarantee a decent outcome with no great surprises. A bedtime read that kids should find comforting, even if they don’t really like Winnie and company (I know that a lot of kids find them a bit uncool).
The story emphasizes the value of friendship; perfect for small kids just embarking on a lifetime (hopefully!) of socializing.
Room for improvement:
I can't call it an enthralling story, but it serves its purpose and that’s all that matters.
Oh, Bother! Someone's Afraid Of the Dark! serves up Disney brand quality and provides useful hints on dealing with one of kids’ most common fears.
Read more of Dimitrios's reviews.
Have you checked out our downloadable fear of the dark book? It's called How Sonora Got Her Own Room Back.
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.