The Dark

The Dark

Book Information

Little Brown April 2, 2013
Character-Building Curriculum

What are you afraid of? Small places? Public speaking? Spiders and snakes? 

Laszlo is afraid of the dark. Who isn't? Do you like to go down into the basement after the sun goes down? Laszlo and dark live in the same house together. Isn't that an interesting way to look at it? They are perhaps sharing the creaks and cold windows and the several sets of stairs. The dark in Laszlo's house lurks in all the usual know that shower curtain issue. They seem to have declared a truce until the night when the dark comes to Laszlo's room and invites him downstairs. Would you go? 

The voice of the dark in this story seems to hold a scary, threatening edge but is that because the edge is there or because we expect it to be there? 

There is a lot of dark in this book and there are warm bursts of light that are well able to hold us safely. This is a great book for facing fears of all kinds. Once you've wandered downstairs with the dark and taken a chance on what awaits, you just might be willing to revisit some of your old favorites...those spiders and large audiences even!!!

Gentle. Reassuring. Respectful of children.

(There is one page of text that seems out of place but I would imagine one could easily skip that page when reading the story with a group of young listeners. It's oddly didactic.)

40 pages  Ages 4-8  978-0316187480

Recommended by: Barb


"It's close to midnight
Something evil's lurkin' in the dark
Under the moonlight
You see a sight that almost stops your heart"
Michael Jackson, "Thriller"
"Sometimes the dark hid in the closet.
Sometimes it sat behind the shower curtain.
But mostly it spent its time in the basement.  All day long the dark would wait in a distant corner, far away from the squeaks and rattles of the washing machine, pressed up against some old, damp boxes and a chest of drawers nobody ever opened. 
At night, of course, the dark went out and spread itself against the windows and doors of Laszlo's house."
Fear of the dark is a perfectly normal thing for young children to experience to some degree.  I don't recall particularly being afraid of the dark when I was a child.  I am, in fact, a little afraid of it these days because I'm living in a house with a deck that randomly goes up a step here and there.  Walking out there in the dark, I know that it is just a matter of time before I trip and fall on my face.
THE DARK by Lemony Snicket, is a wonderful tale about a boy named Laszlo who overcomes his fear of the dark by meeting it face-to-face after his night light bulb burns out.  The various shadings of light that are depicted in Jon Klassen's illustrations of Laszlo's house are a wonder to behold.  They provide an atmospheric quality that permits our really feeling ourselves in this little boy's world.   
I love how we experience this book by beginning with pitch black endpapers, turning the page and encountering Laszlo with a flashlight which (when we turn the page again) sends its beam shining onto the text of the title page. 
There are only two characters in the book -- Laszlo and the dark.  There are no parents or siblings and no reference to what anyone else says or does or thinks.  It's just Laszlo and the dark.  This makes for such a fun and empowering story, one that will help many children become more comfortable with the dark.

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS
Instructor, San Jose State University
School of Library and Information Science, California USA

See more of his recommendations: 

User reviews

1 review
Already have an account? or Create an account
If you are afraid of the dark, this book will help you. If you aren't afraid of the dark, you will still like this book... it isn't scary. A little boy named Laszlo talks to the Dark when the nightlight in his bedroom goes out. This book is fiction because the Dark talks. The use of light and dark makes the illustrations pop, and helps you to see what is in there.
~Written by Mrs. Gutberlet's First Graders, StateRoad Elementary, Webster, NY
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 0 0