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Comment: Former library copy with standard library markings.There is no highlighting or writing inside with a nice tight spine.
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The Dark (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards)) Hardcover – April 2, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 151 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* What if the dark meant more than the absence of light? What if the dark were someone? Laszlo, dressed in blue footie jams, his hair precisely parted, is afraid of the dark. Mostly, the dark lives in the basement, but one night, when his night-light fails, it arrives in Laszlo’s room. The dark leads Laszlo through the rickety house and down to the basement, and bids him to open the bottom drawer of an old dresser, where he finds night-light bulbs. Laszlo is emboldened, peace is restored, and Laszlo and the dark, presumably, live happily ever after. Snicket’s atmospheric narrative personifies the dark with indelible character, its voice as creaky as the roof of the house, and as smooth and cold as the windows. Klassen renders the expansive, ramshackle house in mottled sepia tones, visible in the sharp beam of Laszlo’s flashlight as it interrupts the flat, inky black. Even the dialogue respects the delineation, with Laszlo’s words set in the swaths of light and the dark’s written in the dark. But just as important are the things Klassen omits: rooms are empty of furniture and people. Laszlo feels alone. In its willingness to acknowledge the darkness, and the elegant art of that acknowledgment, The Dark pays profound respect to the immediacy of childhood experiences. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Snicket and Klassen? This’ll be huge. Preschool-Grade 2. --Thom Barthelmess

Review

New York Times Best Illustrated
2014 Charlotte Zolotow Award Winner
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
ALSC Notable Books for Children




*"With his command of language, tone, and pacing, Snicket creates the perfect antidote to a universal fear. Klassen's spare gouache and digital illustrations in a quiet black, brown, and white palette (contrasted with Laszlo's light blue footy pajamas and the yellow light bulb) are well suited for a book about the unseen. Using simple black lines and color contrasts to provide atmosphere and depth, Klassen captures the essence of Snicket's story."

The Horn Book, starred review

*"In its willingness to acknowledge the darkness, and the elegant art of that acknowledgment, The Dark pays profound respect to the immediacy of childhood experiences."―Booklist, starred review

*"While it might not combat fear of the dark, it's an ingenius introduction to horror movie--style catharsis, and a memorable ride on the emotional roller coaster that great storytelling creates."―Publishers Weekly, starred review

*"Snicket and Klassen present a picture book that tackles a basic childhood worry with suspense, a dash of humor, and a satisfying resolution."―School Library Journal, starred review

* "An offbeat -- and spookily atmospheric -- approach to fear of the dark, with a creative story and high-impact artwork...an enjoyable thrill."―The Bulletin, starred review

* "Readers are going to want to read this one over and over."―Library Media Connection, starred review

"Laszlo, though a new creation for this story, somehow seems satisfyingly familiar."―Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Series: Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316187488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316187480
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Laszlo, a young boy, is afraid of the dark. Seems like a pretty simple premise, but in the hands of Snicket (The Complete Wreck (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-13)) the reader should expect the unexpected. And he delivers by making The Dark an actual character - speaking lines and all - thus giving the staid "I'm afraid of the dark" story a fresh, unique spin. The ending is brilliant - literally. Klassen's illustrations are a perfect match to the tone of Snicket's text. The perspective that he uses when drawing Laszlo's flashlight beam is visually engaging and invites conversation with young readers.

And speaking of young readers, don't worry that this is too scary for them. My 3&5 year olds listened with quiet interest to the story with no qualms, then promptly put it on their favorite bookshelf.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of "unconventional" kids books. Think John Klassen and Oliver Jeffers and you get the idea. I love the fact that these authors don't talk down to kids in a condescending way. They tell them that, "Yes, there are scary things out in the world. Here is how to deal with them."

The Dark by Lemony Snicket does the same thing. It tells the story of a kid that is scared of the dark. Like all children do, he pushes himself just to the point of comfort when he says hello to the dark every morning when it has retreated to the corner of the basement. Then one night, the dark pays the boy a visit in his room.

I won't spoil the rest of the book, but it really is a great read. My (almost) six year old daughter has chanted "The Dark, The Dark" every night since I bought the book. I personally think it's because this book teaches kids that somethings that are scary looking can be quite harmless, once you get to know it better.
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Format: Hardcover
I'll start out by saying i've read other reviews of this book, both here and on another site, and a common trend for those marking it with a 2 or 3 star rating is a lack of understanding in regards to the ending. Perhaps a lack of "closure" to the story, or an ending that people felt wasn't in keeping with the foreboding that the rest of the tale instilled. I, on the other hand, loved both the beginning, middle and end of this book and bought it immediately after reading it (yes, it is short...it's a bedtime story for children). I picked it up after noting Klassen's name directly below Snicket's and was not disappointed at all. The storytelling was easy to follow and very effective and the illustrations were outstanding in their simplicity. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a child, of any age, that loves a good bedtime story. You can read other reviews to tell you what the story is about, I will leave that to them, I would like only to say that the book was genuinely clever and worth every penny I paid to bring it home and read it to my child. She has already asked me to read it again tomorrow night.

Well done to both the author and illustrator. Excellent pairing and an excellent read.
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Format: Hardcover
I have a very verbal 2-year old and I am always trying to find new material to stimulate him. Since he seemed to be developing a fear of the dark, I thought I would give this book a try. He loves it. In an effort to reenact the story, he runs around the house opening bottom drawers (in an attempt to find light bulbs) and seeking out the dark ("Hi Dark!"). Now when when the sun goes down, he talks excitedly about how the dark is coming . I don't know if it will last but it is nice to see the reading material resonate with him in a way that shows that he understands the story.

On my part, the book unfolds kind of like a horror movie. So it is a little unsettling for me. But the sweet ending saves the day.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book might be good for little ones who are afraid of the dark, and that does seem to be the intended audience. But as far as a Lemony Snicket book goes, this one lands pretty close to the bottom. I expected more humor and weirdness (a la The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story), but it's pretty straight forward and quick. It's not a bad book; I just expected more Lemony Snicketiness.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Leave it to Lemony Snickett to show my Grandgirls how to make friends with the dark. As I read the book aloud to them, ages 6 and 4 respectively, I changed my voice when The Dark was speaking. Something deep and raspy. Just for effect. They loved it and when I'd forget to assume "the voice" they'd remind me to "Be 'The Dark' for this part."

The fact that the child goes looking for the Dark shows he's matured to the point of being curious about what the Dark can be; what it can show him; the possibilities. I was once certain a very scary thing lived in the dark beneath my bed ready to grab me by the ankles should I dare to put my feet down in front of him (why are the scary things always a "him"?) so I can relate to my granddaughters fear of going upstairs when the lights are off and no adult is up there.

This is a very sweet book and helpful to put The Dark in perspective to a young and active imagination.
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Format: Hardcover
Lazlo is a boy who was afraid of the dark. The dark lived in many places in Lazlo's house. Lazlo would visit the dark in the basement every day. He would say hello to the dark there. His hope was that if he visited the dark, it would not come to visit him. But one night Lazlo's night light went out. The dark came and told Lazlo to come to him. Lazlo followed the voice until he reached the basement and with his flashlight found the dresser drawer where the extra light bulbs were kept. Lazlo was never afraid of the dark again.

The illustrations are done in gouache and digitally rendered. They are for the most part very dark, as seen on the cover, with bits of light. Even though they are dark, they have a vintage feel to them and are nicely done.

I had mixed feelings while reading this story. On one hand, the story is creepy. The dark is a living thing, kept in the basement, that speaks to Lazlo. On the other hand, the story explains that dark is necessary because without it you cannot see the stars and without a dark closet, there would be nowhere to put your shoes. And the story is well written. But it is written on a very deep level that not all children will understand.

I think this book should be given a pass for the little ones, especially if they are afraid of the dark. If they are not afraid of the dark, they might find this story interesting. But I would rather recommend this for the slightly older crowd--kindergarten or first grade and up. If you are looking for a book to help your child not be afraid of the dark, this one is a 50/50 toss up. It could go either way based on your child's personality. So with that being said, this is an interesting book, but I would read it first before reading it to your child to judge whether it would be appropriate.
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