What happens when you are reading an extremely exciting bit in a book and Mum or Dad says, Light’s Out!?
You keep reading, of course! Out comes your trusty torch. You wriggle under the covers and once again, you are lost in the book. This is exactly what I used to do when I was younger.
Once upon a time, before I owned a torch, I tried to use a candle to read in bed after ‘light’s-out’ – never thinking of the danger involved with fire. Burning wax on my fingers and on the floor stopped me. Maybe my mother saw the wax drops everywhere, because not long afterwards my parents gave me my first torch.
There’s a powerful image in my memory of reading in the dark with a torch. It happened when I was about eight. I had to get up for school the next day and Mum was nagging me stop reading and go to sleep. But I was caught up in the Silver Curlew (a book by Eleanor Farjeon), an exciting story about a young girl’s fight to save her sister from an evil imp. How could I possibly sleep?
I hid under the sheet with my torch, reading. Everyone else had gone to bed. It was dark outside and still, and the story was at a creepy, scary part. Then, an eerie wailing sound came from the trees outside.
It was a nocturnal bird called a Bush Curlew. I snapped shut the book, flicked off the light and burrowed back under the sheet in the dark, remembering my grandmother’s words … Curlews always wail when someone is dying. I was too scared to go to sleep!
If I had a ‘Light’s Out’ curfew put on me tonight, you would find me reading (with the aid of my trusty torch) a spell-binding story by Kate Forsyth, The Starthorn Tree. It’s the first in a series. When I’ve finished this one, I will start on the second one, The Wildkin’s Curse.
I wonder if my torch battery will last?
PAULO JIMENEZ is an artist from Florida. He is a Freelance video game and children’s book Illustrator, Muralist, Designer and Fine Art Painter (specialization is for insects). Born in in Costa Rica, and spending his childhood in Chile, Paulo moved to Florida as a teenager. He creates murals and decorative images for private residences and institutions. Check out his wonderful art. (Thank you, Paulo, for the permission to use a section of your fine mural).
‘Reading Under the Covers – helping children choose books‘ – a book by Alyson Simpson. Published by the Primary English Teaching Assoc, Australia. PETA