The Dark, by Lemony Snicket & Illustrated by Jon Klassen — Review
By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 2, 2013
Hardcover: 40 pages
Age Range: 4-7
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 2, 2013)
What to expect: Fears, Nighttime
Both award winners for their work in children’s books, Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen adeptly take on the universal childhood fear of darkness.
Lazlo can’t sleep because he is afraid of the dark. Snicket, in his usual shrewd manner, has personified the darkness that lives in Lazlo’s home. During the day, the dark spends most of its time in the basement, waiting until night when it can “spread itself against the windows and doors of Lazlo’s house.” On the night that the dark visits Lazlo in his room, the young boy takes his trusty bedtime companion—a flashlight—and goes on a conquest that leads to an encounter with the bête noire. Snicket serves this story straight up using a punctilious formula that is vibrant in sound yet entirely cautious in pitch. Energy builds as the dark calls simply to Lazlo: “I want to show you something.” Using gouache and digital tools, Klassen’s illustrations have a gritty texture that seamlessly blends with the text, creating a deeper sensory experience. The subdued colors used for Lazlo’s face of concern, his adorable blue pajamas and everywhere the flashlight shines, offer the right amount of reassurance to young readers and are also a pitch-perfect contrast to the flatness of the ever-increasing black.
When picking up this book, think less a story to squash a fear of darkness and more a story that will resonate with young readers and have them move closer toward embracing darkness. While sometimes eerie, Lazlo’s nightlight induced triumph is delivered with rhythm and beauty. Highly recommended.
Add this book to your collection: The Dark
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