Beatrice Likes The Dark, written by April Genevieve Tucholke and Illustrated by Khoa Le

Hi Everyone! I can’t tell you how thrilled am to be here sharing my very first blog post as the newest member of Picture Book Builders! 

I have been a fan of this blog (not to mention a fan of ALL its members and their incredible books) for YEARS so what an honor it was when Jill asked me to join the team. Thank you so much, Jill. And thank you all for having me.  

So let’s get to it, shall we?!

Beatrice Likes the Dark, written by April Genevieve Tucholke and illustrated by Khoa Le, is a book that I’ve been obsessed with since I discovered it in my library last fall. 

The first thing that attracted me to it was Khoa Le’s gorgeous artwork on the cover (She happens to be one of my favorite illustrators, so no matter what the subject, I knew this book was coming home with me).

The book is about two sisters who are very different from one another and how those differences make it difficult for them to connect and understand each other, despite their love and desire to be close. 

Beatrice is Ms. Tucholke’s first picture book, but she is a prolific and successful author of YA novels. I don’t read a lot of YA, but it didn’t surprise me to learn that most of her books are dark, gothic thrillers. Beatrice definitely has a darker vibe than most picture books I’ve read…

…and I absolutely LOVE IT. 

Talk about an intriguing opening line: 

“Beatrice likes the dark dark dark

and the dark dark dark likes her.”

Don’t tell me that doesn’t just grab you and make you want to know more about this character. Thankfully, it doesn’t take long before we are immersed in Beatrice’s world, learning exactly who she is purely by discovering all the things she likes:

Indeed, the whole book is a master study in “show don’t tell.” We learn about Beatrice’s sister, Roo, in the same way:

I feel like I truly and deeply understand these two sisters from the inside out and can empathize with each of them and their desire to be close, despite their differences. 

The symmetry in this book and the repetition of three words as a sort of refrain throughout the book adds a magical, lyrical quality to the text: 

For anyone looking to add a refrain to their story, this is definitely a mentor text to check out. It unlike anything I’ve seen in a picture book. The repetition could have easily gotten out of hand or felt gimmicky, but Ms. Tucholke uses it sparingly, in just the right moments.

Another thing I love about this book is that we learn so much about the sisters’ relationship without either of them ever speaking a word. Everything is in the narrator’s voice, which you might think would distance us from the girls, but somehow Ms. Tucholke manages to make us feel like we are right in their heads:

I suppose this book hit so close to home because my own sister and I were VERY different growing up. She, the extroverted, exuberant, beautiful social butterfly, involved in all the activities and surrounded (always) by people. Me, the introverted, moody deep-thinker, retreating to the background, preferring (always) the quiet and solitude. 

And yet, despite our differences and difficulty understanding each other, we remain – like Beatrice and Roo – sisters who love each other (always).

I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Rebecca Gardyn Levington

Rebecca Gardyn Levington is a children’s book author, poet, and journalist with a particular penchant for penning both playful and poignant picture books and poems – primarily in rhyme. She is the author of BRAINSTORM!, WHATEVER COMES TOMORROW, and AFIKOMAN, WHERE’D YOU GO? A Passover Hide-and-Seek Adventure, with six additional rhyming picture books forthcoming, including LITTLE DREIDEL LEARNS TO SPIN (Scholastic, 2024), WRITE HERE, WRITE NOW! (Capstone, 2025), I WILL ALWAYS BE… (HarperCollins, 2025), and FINDING FORGIVENESS: A Rosh Hashanah Story (FSG/Macmillan, 2025). Rebecca’s award-winning poems and articles have appeared in numerous anthologies, newspapers, and magazines. She lives in Summit, New Jersey with her family. Find out more about Rebecca and sign up for her monthly newsletter where she answers subscriber questions and shares tips learned throughout her writing journey at www.RebeccaGardynLevington.com.

13 Comments:

  1. Wonderful review… because it makes me want to buy a copy! Well done!

  2. Welcome, Rebecca! Thank you for sharing BEATRICE LIKES THE DARK with us. I’m intrigued by the sister dynamic being shown as dark vs light, and the slightly spooky tone – which I love! And those illustrations…wow…gorgeous!! Looking forward to reading!

  3. Sounds a little like FROZEN. Sister love is always a good subject.

  4. Thank you for this great review, Rebecca! I look forward to reading more posts from you here. I was introduced to Beatrice Likes the Dark earlier this summer at a retreat with my critique group. We all foud it intriguing, and you pointed out even more things to consider. Now I want to revisit it.

  5. Welcome Rebecca! Thank you for showcasing such a beautiful book about light and dark! Must have both. Love the story and illustrations!

  6. Thanks to your thoughtful review, I will soon purchase this book! What an eloquent tribute to a beautiful book. Thank you.

  7. A fresh take on light and dark, in a very inviting way. Nice job!

  8. So happy to see you on the Picture Book Builders team, Rebecca! Thank you for introducing me to this beautiful book — I think repetitive elements can be so effective in picture books, and this one is a very good example of that.

  9. Angie Quantrell

    This really is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Great review and recommendation, Rebecca! Thank you so much for sharing. I’m fascinated by the themes, the gorgeous illustrations, and the rhythm of the storytelling. Now I need to go check it out in person!

  11. I need this book. thank you so much for sharing. 🌌🌜

  12. Such a stunning book!

  13. Natalie Lynn Tanner

    REBECCA: I’m SO EXCITED you’re now a contributor to this AMAZING blog! THANK YOU for sharing this BEAUTIFULLY unique book with us. The contrasts of light and dark, symbolic of the contrasts between the two sisters, is MESMERIZING! I CAN’T WAIT to read this one! THANK YOU!

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