‘Don’t Fear The Dark’ – A Children’s Book

RATING: 

Most Metalheads likely remember how they were told that “Heavy Metal is just a phase.“ and that it is just a matter of time before they grow out of it. Yeah, right. The first Metalheads are not only slowly beginning to approach their retirement age, they have also seen lots of younger Metalheads grow into their beloved music. So yes, Heavy Metal has become multigenerational, toddler wear included. Toddler wear and children books about Heavy Metal included, because how else if not with beautifully drawn cartoons are you supposed to make preschool Metalheads acquainted with Heavy Metal, particularly when it is close to bedtime?

And that is where Lav Nandall (author) Kaylee McHugh (illustrations) and Jeanine Breuer (Design) come into play. Short rhyming texts for you to read to your lil’ soon to be hard rocking young Metalhead and cute and beautifully drawn cartoons for the young Metalhead to look at over the day.   And yes, some will likely call it indoctrination, but those are likely the same who told you that you would grow out of Heavy Metal. All the more reason to actually go out and buy the book, or rather the series.

As for the book at hand: What does it cover? The birth of the scene in the form of Black Sabbath, early Judas Priest and early Motorhead. Also, who would have thought that Lemmy can look so darn cute? But then, big heads and anime style eyes do that. So yes, it is obvious that the team behind the book and the entire series is really dedicated to their aim to present Heavy Metal to the next generation.

However, we are still talking about children here and Heavy Metal’s history certainly has some darker aspects to it. And that is also the point where I have to urge parents to handle this book (and likely the others as well) with prudence and at their own discretion. The drawings are cute and the way how the book handles things like Ozzy getting kicked out of Black Sabbath due to his drug addiction is very tame and possibly also a very important lesson as well (Quote: “Remember kids, drugs are bad for you!”), but did the book really have to bring up the Judas Priest lawsuit? The one where the band got accused for driving two teenagers into a suicide attempt where they shot each other into the head? Again, even this particular panel is very toned down. In fact all you see are two kids having fun with water guns, but a panel about a suicide that could just as well have been left out? You might want to give it a thought if, or how to present this particular book to your kids. However, if Heavy Metal is a truly important part of your life then this might be a good starting point, because your kids will likely find out about these darker aspects anyway. So, why not under parental supervision?

Also, consider Maurice Sendak’s “Where The Wild Things Are”. Many critics thought that it was too rough and feared that it would encourage children to develop a bad attitude. And yet, it became a classic! With this I do not want to insinuate that the “Don’t Fear The Dark” is en par with Sendak’s masterpiece, but there is certain kinship in spirit. ‘Be different, be rough, but do not be self-destructive’ so to say.

So again: Parental discretion. If Heavy Metal is an important part of your life and if you have kids then you should really go and read the book and enjoy it for what it is. Make up your mind, be a good mom, be a good dad and then ask yourself if and how to use it as an entertaining, yet educational tool, because this is what books like this one are supposed to be. Entertaining, yet also educational.

Also, the texts show that a lot of thought went into them and the drawings are simply too cute! Just be aware that this is only the start of a longer series. So if you get hooked – sorry, I mean when your kids get hooked 😉 – then prepare stay hooked for quite a while! 8 devils!

The first book is available to pre-order at R150-00 (excluding shipping) directly from the author from December 2018.

To secure your copy please contact Lav Nandlall