Night Animals by Gianna Marino– Lights Up the Dark with Laughter!



Night Animals by Gianna Marino, what a hilarious and beautifully designed romp through the very “scary” night woods.

Only the whites of their eyes show on the black end pages and set the stage for the “dark” story to come.The premise that night animals are afraid of the dark is a very funny concept which becomes funnier and funnier as smaller night animals meet up with bigger night animals who are all quivering in fear of the darkt. The composition and layout of each spread is absolutely dynamic and captivating. Gianna Marino does a brilliant job of moving your eye from left to right and talk about page turns! Ohhhhh, I can just imagine kids picking up all the subtle humor and feeling like they’re in on the “big secret”. That these silly critters are all just scaring themselves!


There is even a very inconspicuous ‘vapor’ behind the skunk when he gets scared which keeps causing the poor possum to play possum.


There is a subtlety to Marino’s artwork that when juxtaposed against the stark black really makes her animals pop and come to life.

Everything about this book stands out. From the bold contrast of the black negative space, to the simple, amusing, and easy to read dialogue. And even though the designs are sharp and sparse, the detail and emotion that Gianna Marino captures in her characters is full and powerful.

nightanimals4Whose afraid of the dark? Kids will absolutely love everything about this witty book. Hmmmm…. I did too!

Thank you!

Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer is the illustrator and author of several acclaimed picture books. Most recently is Always by My Side, 'A Stuffie Story', which she wrote and illustrated. She also is both the author and illustrator of Playing Possum, and Blue Ethel. Jennifer illustrated Gondra’s Treasure, written by Newbery award winner Linda Sue Park. As well as, Sometimes You Fly, by Newbery medalist, Katherine Applegate. She illustrated Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park, The Inventor's Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons, by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz.


  1. What a fun way to handle fear of the dark!

  2. The artwork is so striking! This looks like a charmer. (And sorry about the technical glitch–thanks to you and Joe for working it out . . . hopefully!)

  3. Oh, my. I have to get my hands on this book. Thanks of much for telling me about this one.

  4. This looks like a fun, bedtime book but…bring a flashlight! 🙂

  5. Can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for sharing it!

  6. This looks SO darling! Just requested it from the library. Thanks so much!!

  7. This book was so hilarious–I absolutely loved the illustrations! The opossum was my favorite–so sweet! Thanks, Jennifer 🙂

  8. What a perfect marriage of art and text, as well as style and substance. Congrats!

  9. I have to get this! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Jen!

  10. This is one I want to read!

  11. This is a great book. The story is simple but it is spot on and the illustrations are hilarious. I liked it so much I made my 16 year old daughter read it – she laughed as much as I did.

  12. I loved this book!

  13. Oh gosh, this book looks absolutely delightful! I must add this to my collection and send one to my niece.

  14. Love love love the humor in this book and the dialogue!

  15. Jennifer! Thanks so much for your lovely comments on Night Animals!
    Gianna Marino

  16. I am crazy about this book. 🙂

  17. This looks terrific. I love the art and the concept!

  18. I often direct my son’s reading according to you recommendations. Thank you!
    I have a question about copyright – is it okay to use pictures other than the book-jacket when you review books? Do you seek permission to do this, or do publishers etc. consider this publicity and/or fair use?

    • Hi Sarika, I’m glad that you find our recommendations helpful 🙂

      Technically, interior artwork should have permission to be reposted. I have contacted the illustrators for a few of my posts to gain permission. What I do do is look online and use artwork that is already in the public domain (i.e. appears on the illustrator’s site or blog, etc.)

      Because we are promoting and positively recommending these books I would expect that this would be viewed as helpful promotion.

      Thanks so much!

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