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The Dark (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards)) Hardcover – April 2, 2013
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*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
New York Times Best Illustrated
*"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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The illustrations are also captivating for children to look at and are a great match to the story. There is a good contrast between light from the flashlight to dark.
Well done, yet again, Lemony Snicket.
Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen were put on this Earth to make books together. Two authors with styles and skills that complement each other in an “oh-my-oh-my” the world is a wonderful place after all kind of way. Pure magic! A collaboration that captures Laszlo’s late night chat with the dark perfectly.
Our tale comes to life with natural, stark, stripped down to the heart of the matter pages filled with darkness and light. Young Laszlo is afraid of the dark, but an unexpected voice helps him see that you can’t have light without dark. Can’t have one without the other.
The color black lives and breathes in the pages of this book. An intense, deep color that pulls readers in with mystery and power. I have never seen or felt blacker pages. Black cat black. Witch’s cauldron black. The lights just went out type black. Quick! Close your eyes! THAT is captured here on the page! But so was the light. Turn the page and a stunning, natural glow of color warms the story with daylight. I could feel the warmth of the wood floor and sun shining in. Truly a dazzling book to flip through for the color and art alone.
Then the words take shape and sink in. At first, the idea of the Dark having a voice gave me creepy chills down my spine. But in a sly, quirky, matter of fact, Snickety way-- Laszlo’s fears (and mine) turned to ease, courage, and wisdom.
”without the dark, everything would be light, and you would never know if you needed a lightbulb”
I love this book. A true classic that has found a warm, bright, well-lit spot on my favorites shelf. :)
My oldest was shy of 4½ when we began reading this book. He's never been scared of the dark, but we've had our challenges with abandoned tunnels and dinosaurs causing bad thoughts if not nightmares.
So maybe I'm being bad dad by sharing this book that takes a non-threatening topic, makes it scary, then shines a light on it to expose... nothing worth fretting over. But no matter, both kids enjoy the story and the art, and when the bages get really black, it's the perfect excuse for them to growl loud monster noises at each other,.