The Darkest Dark
By Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion
Illustrated by The Fan Brothers
Tundra Books, $22.99
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True or False? Famed Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield was afraid of the dark as a kid.
If he was, and overcame it to become the celebrated commander of the International Space Station, it would probably make a good children’s book.
As it is, Hadfield’s new book, The Darkest Dark, for youngsters aged three to seven, was inspired by his growing up years.
And it’s a great book.
We meet young Chris days before the first moon landing.
He’s already honing creative skills, imagining himself as an astronaut, saving the planet from aliens alongside his trusted ally,
Albert the family dog.
He’s fearless in daylight, but crippled at bedtime by a fear of the dark.
That all changes when he joins other cottagers around the only TV on Stag Island on July 20, 1969 to witness the Apollo 11 landing and the iconic moonwalk of Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
Everyone’s moonstruck but Chris is also amazed by the ultimate darkness of space, way beyond the dark demons of his bedroom.
From then on, it’s dream on for the little guy. He’s determined to explore the dark universe and achieve his ultimate goal.
The Darkest Dark soars as an inspiration for children trying to overcome a fear as well as dreamers wondering if they will triumph.
Of course, the lesson here is ageless.
The book is beautifully and thoughtfully illustrated by brothers Terry and Eric Fan, who studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto.
Readers who have followed Hadfield’s remarkable career will be heartened to see a guitar as well as a robot on the litle guy’s bed.
Bonus too, is a photo of the real Chris in his first spaceship.