The Dark Really Isn’t That Scary


The Dark

Written by Lemony Snicket

Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Published by Little, Brown, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-316-18748-0

Format: Picturebook; hardcover

40 Pages ~ Ages 4-7

Brief Summary

Laszlo lives in a creepy, old house. So does the dark; in the basement. “Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark is not afraid of Laszlo.” One night while Laszlo sleeps, the dark wakes him and lures him to the basement. Laszlo worriedly faces his fear and finds out the dark is not so scary after all. Laszlo isn’t afraid of the dark anymore.

Review

At first look, The Dark appears as dark as it sounds. Fortunately for young readers, Lemony Snicket successfully masters delivery of his succinct text in a way that, in the end, soothes fearful minds. The majority of the text is simple enough for emerging readers to read independently. As the story climaxes, a more intense double-spread mid-book invites parents to enter the reading experience and – with Snicket – reassure children there are good things about the dark. When I first saw the book cover, I thought The Dark would be a little creepy. I mean, this is a Lemony Snicket product. Although the illustrations are dark – mostly black bleeds with partially covered rickety floorboards and steps – they greatly enhance the text. Simply put, Klassen’s gouache and digital illustrations suck you in, especially if you’re naturally curious. The Dark is a page turner that is sure to captivate young readers. Oh yeah…and cure their fear of the dark. This is the page that pulled me into the dark. I give The Dark 🔦🔦🔦🔦.

the dark 2

The Dark (2013)

Read-Alikes

A book I find rather dark, Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back (I blogged about it here.)

A story of self-discovery, Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Awards

  • New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books (2013)
  • School Library Journal Best Children’s Books (2013)
  • Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year (2013)
  • ALA Notable Children’s Books (2014)

If you’re brave enough to step into The Dark, watch the trailer here.

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