The Definitive Guide to

Flashlight Night

Written by Matt Forrest Esenwine & illustrated by Fred Koehler
Published by Boyds Mills & Kane
5.5 / 7.0
- Bookroo Rating
Goodreads Rating - 4.0 / 5.0
Add to list
Prices as of May 16
Retail Price
used $16.95
Sep 19, 2017
Publication Date
Target Age

What's Flashlight Night About

Publisher Summary

Flashlight Night is an ode to the power of imagination and the wonder of books. Three children use a flashlight to light a path around their backyard at night; in the flashlight’s beam another world looms. Our heroes encounter spooky woods, a fearsome tiger, a time-forgotten tomb, an Egyptian god, a sword-fighting pirate, and a giant squid. With ingenuity, they vanquish all, then return to their tree house—braver, closer, and wiser than before—to read the books that inspired their adventure.

What Kind of Book is Flashlight Night

Image Gallery

Quotes from Flashlight Night

  • “Casts a glow upon a wall down a dark and ancient hall as inky shadows rise and fall, dancing… no sound at all."

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • Whatever is lit by the flashlight becomes something else in the children’s imagination! What does the cat turn into? What does the pool turn into? What about the beach ball? The teddy bear?

  • What happens when the giant squid (the Kraken) is scared by the giant bear? (Hint: look underneath the squid!)

  • What does the pirate leave behind in the tree house?

  • If you could go on an adventure, where would you go?

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

The Book Snob Mom
Mom of boys. Lover of Harry Potter, Jane Austen and believes one can never own too many children's books!
5.5 / 7.0

Delightfully clever illustrations simultaneously show “reality” in the dark of the night and the world of the children’s imagination as illuminated by the flashlight in a way that highlights the power and joy of reading!

Book Lists That Include Flashlight Night

Book Topics › bedtime
Best Children's Books About Bedtime
Book Topics › imagination and play
Children's Books About Imagination And Play
Book Topics › action and adventure
Awesome Children's Books About Adventure
Kids Book Club
Monthly. Curated. Delivered.
Get Started
As low as $16.95 / mo

Who Wrote Flashlight Night

Matt Forrest Esenwine
Verified creative

As a Vermont and New Hampshire radio broadcaster, Matt Forrest Esenwine spent a good part of his time writing and producing commercials and comedy bits. He also wrote poetry, which was published in various national journals and anthologies including the Donald Hall tribute, “Except for Love” (Encircle, 2019).

Little did Matt know all this short-form writing would lead to his debut picture book, “Flashlight Night” (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2017), which received numerous positive reviews including a Kirkus star, and was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the Best Books for Kids 2017. Other picture books include “Don’t Ask a Dinosaur” (POW! Kids, 2018), co-authored with Deborah Bruss, “Once Upon Another Time” (Beaming Books, 2021), co-authored with Charles Ghigna, and others.

Meanwhile, his children’s poetry can be found in anthologies like “The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry” (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2015), “Construction People” (Wordsong, 2019) and ‘Highlights for Children’ magazine. Feel free to connect with Matt at

View Author

Who Illustrated Flashlight Night

Fred Koehler
Fred Koehler
View Illustrator

What Has Matt Forrest Esenwine Said About Flashlight Night

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Matt know that you want more details about Flashlight Night! Try tweeting Matt on twitter (@mattforrestvw) or messaging Matt on instagram (@mattforrestvw).

What Has Fred Koehler Said About Flashlight Night

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Fred know that you want more details about Flashlight Night!

What Do Critics Say About Flashlight Night

  • “Newcomer Esenwine’s balladic verse and Koehler’s sturdily drafted pencil drawings don’t just lobby for children to read—they show how readers play.”

    Read the full review
  • Starred Review

    ★”The contrast between darkness and the area illuminated by a flashlight fascinates children, but this title kicks the fun up a notch . . . The modest swimming pool inspires a pirate escapade; a rope ladder links to a hot air balloon rescue. The delicious language and ingenious metamorphoses, rendered in pencil and colored digitally, are tied directly to classic books stacked near the sleeping bags. A rousing read.”

    Read the full review
  • “On any dark night, a flashlight illuminating shadows can create delicious thrills. Here, . . . (i)t’s an old-fashioned, rip-roaring imaginary adventure, complete with a pirate, an ancient Egyptian chamber, and traveling to a ‘foreign shore.’’’

    Read the full review
  • “A flashlight becomes a gateway to a whole new world in this imaginative . . . book. Each double-page spread grows more fantastical . . . Despite the excitement, the gentle rhyming text will wind young listeners down and help prepare them for dreamland adventures of their own.”

    Read the full review
  • “Digitally colored pencil drawings cleverly depict what’s really in the kids’ surroundings while also showing what they are imagining . . . a simple idea that’s engagingly executed and would be an excellent, atmospheric read for sleepovers or backyard campouts.”

    Read the full review
  • “The creative illustrations make the story come alive by using a beam of light to highlight the imaginary parts . . . This picture book, reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are, encourages children to find adventures in a boundless world through reading.”

Did Flashlight Night Win Any Awards

You bet it did. Check them out below!

More Books From These Creatives

Fred Koehler
Picture book
Add to list
Matt Forrest Esenwine
Picture book
Add to list
Matt Forrest Esenwine, Kidsbooks
Board book
Add to list
Andres F Landazabal, Matt Forrest Esenwine, Charles Ghigna
Picture book
Add to list
Matt Forrest Esenwine, Jen Corace
Picture book
Add to list
Ellen Shi, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Matt Forrest Esenwine
Picture book
Add to list
Ellen Shi, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Matt Forrest Esenwine
Picture book
Add to list
Shelley Moore Thomas, Fred Koehler
Picture book
Add to list
Julie Sternberg, Fred Koehler
Picture book
Add to list

Books You Might Enjoy If You Liked Flashlight Night

Book Details

Publication Date:
September 19, 2017
Text Details:
Garamond Premier
Illustration Details:
Hand-drawn pencil illustrations; digitally colored.
Word Count:
Library of Congress Number (LCCN):
Lexile® Level:
ATOS® Book Level:
Accelerated Reader® Points:
Accelerated Reader Quiz:
Accelerated Reader Interest Level:

Contribute to this page

Core Score - 92%
So, SO close to perfection!
Depth Score - 31%
Just the barebones.
Improve this page
Are you the author or illustrator? Claim this page.