Kid Lit Review of “In The Dark: The Science of What Happens at Night” by Lisa Deresti Betik

This resource for older kids explores what happens after dark, when most people are sleeping. As the author writes at the outset, “There’s a whole world of exciting activity happening during the dark hours of the night.”

The book begins with describing the tasks that the brain and body perform while you are sleeping. It has interesting information on sleep and dreaming, such as the fact that “Your body becomes temporarily paralyzed during REM sleep!” (REM sleep is explained along with other stages of the sleep cycle.). The mechanics of dreaming are also explored.

It then moves on to nocturnal creatures, and what they get up to at night. How do cats see in the dark? How do bats hear? What do plants do at night? You will learn in this book.

In fact, the part about plants is so valuable because while we often read about what animals are doing at night, we rarely hear or think about plants. But in fact, plants do behave differently in the dark – they even do math! This section is fascinating.

Moving out into the sky, the author then explains why there is “night” at all and introduces you to the stars, planets, and other objects visible in the night sky.

The books ends with a glossary and guide to selected sources.

Excellent illustrations and diagrams by Josh Holinaty help “illuminate” the concepts explained.

Evaluation:: This is an excellent resource for learning at home, but is way too interesting and informative to be “just” for kids!

Rating: 5/5

Published in U.S. by Kids Can Press, 2020

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