I found The Dark at my town library. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but how could I pass up a picture book written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen? I’ll admit that I never read the entire Unfortunate Events series, but Snicket’s The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming is a favorite holiday story of mine, and I think I Want My Hat Back is a modern classic.
The Dark is a story about Laszlo, a little boy who is afraid of the dark. They mostly keep away from each other, and the dark stays in the basement. But when Laszlo’s nightlight goes out, the dark comes to visit. The dark talks to him, and guides him into the basement. Laszlo learns that he doesn’t have to be afraid of the dark.
The illustrations are wonderful. We are big fans of Jon Klassen’s style of art. I especially enjoyed the way the dark was used, and the contrast between dark and light.
This is not a scary story, but there is some suspenseful build-up as the dark urges Laszlo downstairs and into the basement. My girls aren’t too familiar with scary stories, so they were not frightened, but I found myself getting a little nervous about what the dark could be guiding Laszlo towards. After all, characters in both Snicket and Klassen books have met bad ends! My fears were for naught- no children are harmed in this book!
My girls enjoyed this story. My oldest daughter is almost seven years old, and she is quite a unique individual. She gets frustrated, and she cries easily, but her favorite thing to do before school is to watch The Today Show, and she can be surprisingly insightful. When she came downstairs one night and said that she was afraid of the dark, I got out this book, and I read it to her. I wasn’t sure how well this book would be received, but she thought about it, went upstairs, and went to bed. The book helped her to see that the dark was not something that she needed to fear.
I would recommend The Dark for preschoolers and children in the early years of elementary school. If you would like some more information, you can find it here: The Dark (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards))