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"A smaller percentage of 17 year olds saw adults reading in their homes in 1999 than in 1984."
Summary: Amy is a little girl who is scared of the dark. However, as small lights are flickering outside her window, she gets an idea. She retrieves an empty jar from the pantry, goes outside to catch some fireflies, and brings them into her room, excited to bring the light inside. She realizes that, confined in the jar, the light of the fireflies dims. When she releases them into her room, the darkness has gone away, and she overcomes her fear of the shadows on the walls, falling asleep in peace.
This is a story that brings together nature and a child's fear of the dark.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 6; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 3 to 7
Reading Level: 5
Age of Child: Read with children 2, 4, and 6 years old.
Young Reader Reaction: My children enjoyed the book. However, not really having experienced fireflies, I'm not entirely certain this book hit home for them.
Adult Reader Reaction: I liked the book. The synopsis on the book about Amy finding the light within her is a bit of a stretch, but the story is unique and fun, and it certainly would help initiate a discussion with a child who is scared of the dark. I also have to respect the author's ability to create this book from the heart, and with so much thought. He thought up and wrote the story, created the images, and had one of his daughters pose for the photos, the other perform the reading in the flash video. PLUS, he thoroughly researched and wrote an interesting synopsis of the biology of fireflies, plus provided links to more info in a way that inspires readers to get excited about learning about these special beetles!
The illustrations are photo-illustrations -- it appears that the author took photographs and modified them to add in texture, create a mood, and depict some of the firefly lighting effects.
Pros: Everyone can enjoy this unique story with its dream-like quality. Wonderfully researched facts about fireflies. The illustrations are quite effective at telling the story, and are wonderfully created. There is so much info here, both entertaining and educational.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. The story by itself is worth checking out from the library, but you'll want to make sure you can renew the book so that you can use this book to springboard your kids into a lesson about fireflies and other beetles. For entomologists (bug scientists), this is a wonderful bedtime story!
Educational Themes: This is a bedtime story and can start conversations about being afraid of the dark, but it is also about fireflies. At the end of the book is also a page of factual info about fireflies and their decline in the environment, and how to preserve them. The author has also made this story available in flash format online. It is the pictures from the book and the text, as read by the author's daughter.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.