Jade Braves the Dark

The best thing about the children’s book Jade Braves the Dark by Valdene Mark is the artwork. It’s not the story and it’s not the message, it’s the utterly gorgeous illustrations provided by the wonderfully talented Sawyer Cloud. And while I will say that the message is a good one that I love children reading, I think the writing overall needed some help.

Jade in the Darkness

See, I do genuinely love books like this. It’s a great thing to teach children to not be afraid of the dark. In truth, though, I don’t really think this book does the greatest of job with that. Showing a little girl finding comfort in the moon is nice, but that doesn’t mean everyone else will feel that way. Not everyone has a skylight in their room either.

Of course, I don’t necessarily think it’s a problem. It’s a great idea to find comfort in the moonlight since it means the dark isn’t as dark as kids ordinarily thought. Where I really took issue was the writing. It’s all done in a rhyming poetry format. I don’t mind this, usually. In fact, I actually really enjoy lyrical children’s books. The problem with Jade Braves the Dark, though, is that the meter of it all is way off on numerous pages.

And when this happens, the entire book is difficult to read. None of the lines fully flow the way your brain wants them to. I found myself rewriting entire sections of the book in my head as I read it. The whole experience was somewhat jarring.

Jade in the Moonlight

Ah, but then there are the illustrations. Honestly, Sawyer Cloud is phenomenal. The imagery within this book is utterly gorgeous. Jade is beautifully drawn, her room has the most exquisite colors. I loved every picture within this book. And I even had a moment of giddy glee when I noticed some of the books sitting on her shelf, Peter Pan catching my eye almost instantly.

I always love when illustrations go above and beyond in including little details within the characters’ rooms. And Cloud does not disappoint for one second. Each page you turn meets you with something extraordinary and magical. This is honestly so great for a story like this in which the main character is struggling with a darkness. Throw in a little magic and it lights everything up.

Sleep Tight

I wish I’d loved this book. I’d been rather excited, at first, when the cover caught my eye. And I think that’s just something to note, really. The cover is exceptional in so many ways. It’s a great sneak peek into the beauty you will surely find within the pages of the book. It’s just a shame that the lyrical-esque writing’s inability to flow pulled me out of the story so much.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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