Darkness Slipped In – Picture Book by Ella Burfoot

Image Credit Macmillan

“Daisy was thinking of a game to play
When Darkness slipped in at the end of the

“He came in through the window and spread out on the floor.
While Daisy danced and laughed and played then danced around some more.

“Pretending that he wasn’t there, he slid along the wall.
But Daisy had seen Darkness, and she wasn’t scared at all.

“He quickly filled the room and ate up all the light.
But Daisy knew that Darkness knew she had him in her sight.

“With one swift move, she crossed the room and grabbed him by the wrist.
And pretty soon, around the room, they danced the FUNKY TWIST!

“And after all that dancing around, they had a little break,
They sipped a cup of lemonade and nibbled on some cake.

“Now Darkness comes in every night to dance and laugh and play.
And the two of them, the best of friends, dance the night away.

But when they’re tired and sleepy, Daisy switches off the light.
And Daisy knows that Darkness knows it’s time to say . . .

“Good night.”

Text and Illustrations by Ella Burfoot
Image Credit to Macmillan

Ella Burfoot’s Darkness Slipped In is an excellent example of a picture book that deals with the darkness in life.

Darkness Slipped In might have been written to address only a fear of the dark.

On the other hand, Darkness Slipped In might have been written to address depression and other dark feelings.

In my opinion, the text in Darkness Slipped In is a bit awkward. The rhyme seems to be a bit of a stumbling block in the text, but the illustrations are perfect.  I also like that Burfoot has addressed the fact that darkness is real for many children. It is narrow-minded to assume that all children live in a lollipops-and-rainbows world. Many children face child abuse, racial prejudice, loss of a parent, divorce, and other not-so-rosy issues. And some children are simply depressed. Every child deserves picture books that speak to them.  That every child includes the child who is depressed. Ella Burfoot has created a picture book that skillfully explores some of the darker thoughts that might cross a child’s mind.

I love black and white design work, and Burfoot’s illustrations for Darkness Slipped In are outstanding examples of clean, sharp design work.

Darkness Slipped In is literature that explores the theme of Darkness versus light.

Dark versus Light – Night versus Day – Themes in Literature

Again, I want to reiterate my position that it is helpful for all writers o become familiar with symbols in literature and literary themes, Although some picture books are little more than eye candy and entertainment, other picture books dare to address complex issues and in doing so, they speak to the reader in complex ways. In my opinion, when picture books accomplish this, they are literature–just like their cousins, the novels.

Bottom line, I agree with Babbitt that all writers [including picture book writers] benefit from reading all types of books [including picture books]. The best picture books are those that have distilled the thoughts that novelists express, and they say the same things with precious few words. Regardless of whether they rhyme or not, great picture books are poetry.