Review Blog

Jan 17 2019

A stormy night by Mark Carthew

cover image

Ill. by Simon Prescott. Marvin and Marigold. New Frontier Press, 2019. ISBN 9781925594225
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Fear. Darkness. Families. Mice. Friendship. The third in the series concerning the two mice, Marvin and Marigold will bring delighted sighs of recognition from readers as they explore their fear of the dark together. Marigold's fear of the dark takes hold when on a dark wintry night the lights go out. She heads for the space beneath her bed taking her teddy with her. She hears a loud noise at the window and sees Marvin standing there, wanting to come in. He snuggles under the bed with Marigold, and tells her that he has brought a torch.
Told in rhyming pairs of lines, the story will come to life read out loud, and even more so if snuggled into a dark corner with a torch. Showing Marigold and Marvin's groundless fear of the dark will allow readers to talk about their own fear of the dark and laugh about it, while watching the two mice do something to allay their fears, subtly showing the readers steps they can take to undermine their fears.
A funny ending helps lighten the situation, and Prescott's wonderful illustrations are a foil to the story. His use of large areas of dark colour reflect the characters' fear of the unknown, and their eyes are just amazing, large and bold, standing out in the dark, giving an image of what each is feeling. I love the use of the endpapers to add depth to the story, and the contrast of the old and the new characters, each being frightened of the dark will underline for the readers that they are not alone in their fears.
The theme of friendship permeates the tale as Marvin comes over to Marigold's house to be with her during the stormy night, and the theme of looking after each other underpins the whole.
Fran Knight

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