By Chris Hadfield
Illustrated By The Fan Brothers
Contributions by Kate Fillion
We've all heard the saying,
Don't judge a book by its cover.
I whole-heartedly agree. However, there is a time now-and-then to judge a cover by itself.
I noticed recently that “The Darkest Dark” has two published covers, but I can’t stop thinking about this glow-in-the-dark paperback version I found.
The cover illustrations drew me in immediately. There are creatures on the cover vaguely reminiscent of Maurice Sendak's “Where the Wild Things Are.” Not only is the style similar to Maurice Sendak, but the appearance of shadowy monsters, contrasted with the bright moon, reminds me of a boy with a wild imagination.
Speaking of contrast, it is odd to have a full moon show up on a cover titled “The Darkest Dark” because, as all late walkers know, the night is brightest when the moon is full. However, the title is not only referring to the darkness of space, but also the fear of the unknown, the dark spaces between everything, and the shadows cast by the light.
The alternate cover features a cardboard rocket. Glimpsing through the pages you will also notice things like vintage robots, models, and yoyos. Nostalgia plays a big part in this story, although passively. The Fan Brothers were wise to play on that. If you don't know already, Chris Hadfield, the author, is a retired astronaut, who likely has many incredible stories about his journey. But this story transpires in a familiar childhood. Many children recall admiring astronauts as they take bold steps into space, yet at the same time worrying about the space underneath the bed. Undoubtedly, Chris Hadfield was the best narrator for this story because he has experienced fear and wonder both as a child and an adult, confronted the darkest dark, and returned.