Jacob Starke Loves the Dark by Peta Rainford

Jacob Starke

My enormous thanks to author and illustrator Peta Rainford for sending me a copy of Jacob Starke Loves the Dark in return for an honest review. I adore Peta’s children’s books and have a review of The Niggle here alongside a smashing guest post from Peta about fitting illustrations to text in her books (although sadly the giveaway has now ended) and another review of Isabella’s Adventures in Numberland here.

Jacob Starke Loves the Dark is available for purchase here.

Jacob Starke Loves the Dark

Jacob Starke

Are you afraid of THE DARK? Jacob Starke is. Jacob Starke is TERRIFIED!

Until, that is, he gets to meet The Dark face-to-face and shares an amazing adventure through the wonders of the night sky.

Jacob Starke Loves The Dark is a charming rhyming picture book about being brave, outer space, loving plants and animals and the importance of Dark Skies. An important environmental issue is tackled with beautiful illustrations, humour and a light touch.

My Review of Jacob Starke Loves the Dark

Jacob is afraid of the dark but learns not to worry.

I don’t know about Jacob learning to love the dark, but I absolutely adored Jacob Starke Loves the Dark. This is the third Peta Rainford children’s book I’ve read and whilst they are all wonderful, this it is her best yet. It’s absolutely brilliant and a must read with any child who is afraid of the dark.

The quality of illustration in Jacob Starke Loves the Dark is outstanding. Even though many of the images need to be dark to support the text, they are still vibrant, beautiful and stunning. I loved the way so many animals feature, from domestic cats to turtles, especially as there fantastic messages about caring for the environment and the need to allow nature to experience darkness to thrive. Indeed, I think adults should read this book, never mind children, so that they can appreciate the environment more too.

Obviously, alongside the environmental messages, the main concept of the book is to help children who are afraid of the dark and it is conveyed perfectly. Jacob goes on wonderful adventures with the dark and learns to dispel his fears completely. The way the illustrations personify the dark works flawlessly.

The language in Jacob Starke Loves the Dark is fabulous. Not only does Peta Rainford maintain the rhyme scheme impeccably without straining the language to fit, she balances familiar and challenging language so well, meaning that the book is accessible for independent readers as well as improving their own vocabulary. I’d love to see a copy of this book in every primary school in the UK. I can so so many educational and emotional benefits from reading it with and to children.

It’s difficult to convey what a triumph I think Jacob Starke Loves the Dark is. It’s a wonderful book and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Just buy it!

About Peta Rainford


Peta grew up on the Isle of Wight so long ago she can remember buying crisps from the school  tuck shop for 2½p. As a child she loved words, and loved drawing too, but she had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up. She studied English at York University and then worked in London as a business journalist and editor for 14 years. She went to art classes and even studied fine art at St Martins, but she still had no idea what she wanted to do when she grew up.

Peta moved back to the Isle of Wight in 2006, and it was here that Peta, now balancing the roles of freelance writer and mum, decided to write and illustrate her first book for children. It was a revelation: a way of combining picture making with her love of words – not to mention an outlet for her awful jokes. It may have taken more than four decades, but finally, Peta knows what she wants to do when she grows up.

Peta Rainford’s books iclude Hairy FairyIsabella Rotten SpellerIsabella’s Adventures in Numberland, The Niggle and Jamie and the Joke Factory.

You can find out more by following Peta on Twitter @PetaRainford and visiting her website. You’ll also find Peta on Facebook.

12 thoughts on “Jacob Starke Loves the Dark by Peta Rainford

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