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The Dark

by Lemony Snicket
Illustrated by Jon Klassen

Published by Little, Brown, 2013
44 pages
ISBN: 978-0-316-18748-0

Ages 4-8

The dark lives in Laszlo’s basement during the daytime. “At night, of course, the dark went out and spread itself against the windows and doors …” Laszlo doesn’t like the dark, but he stands at the top of the steps and says hello to the dark every morning, hoping that if he visits the dark in the basement, the dark won’t come visit him in his room. “But one night, it did.” It turns out that the dark, which has a voice “as creaky as the roof of the house, and as smooth and cold as the windows,” wants Laszlo to come downstairs. Lemony Snicket’s playfully serious picture book doesn’t make light of many children’s very real fear of the dark. Instead, it acknowledges that fear, elegantly traversing the tension that comes with it to arrive at the point of possibility, where the dark can be, well, illuminating. The narrative builds anxiety and anticipation as Laszlo hesitantly descends through the house. Then a wonderful cascade of language creates a sudden shift in pace, mood and perspective, inviting readers and listeners to consider the dark in new light—as a presence with purpose. Jon Klassen provides terrifically understated illustrations as a backdrop. Winner, 2014 Charlotte Zolotow Award  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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