Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Dark

The Dark

Spring 2013 Picture Books
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
Author: Lemony Snicket
Illustrator: John Klassen
ISBN: 9780316187480
Hardcover Price: $16.99

Bright pools of light fill the blackened pages of Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen's The Dark. On its surface, the story is about a boy named Laszlo who is afraid of the dark. A flashlight is Laszlo's constant companion, and he has an electric night light in his room, too. It doesn't help that Laszlo lives in a huge house, old with a creaky roof and plenty of deeply dark spaces. The dark lurks in closets, behind the shower curtain, and, most of all, in the basement.

Night light glowing, Laszlo feels safe in his bedroom. That is, until the bulb fails and makes way for the dark to enter Laszlo's room and beckon him toward the basement. Here the dark is itself a character, one who seems menacing at first, but who is actually kind and helpful. As Snicket explains, "You might be afraid of the dark, but the dark is not afraid of you. That's why the dark is always close by." Laszlo manages to find a new bulb for his night light with the dark's help. In confronting the dark so directly, he learns to abandon his fears and live with the dark.

This is the rare picture book that in its simplicity offers room for wide interpretation. It will allay the fears of children and adults, both of whom may fear different types of darkness.

Parents' Choice   ©2013 Parents' Choice

Look for this product at:
Little Brown Books for Young Readers

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