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4.7 out of 5 stars57
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 7 August 2013
'You might be afraid of the dark, but the dark is not afraid of you. That's why the dark is always close by'...

This glorious hardback children's book made my stomach lurch the first time I saw it. Something about the cover made me want to cry. It depicts a boy (who is revealed in the text as Laszlo) standing nervously at the top of a staircase peering into looming darkness. Something about Jon Klassen's eloquent illustrations reminds me of how it feels to be a child, and how it feels to be afraid. Lemony Snicket, most famous for creating A Series of Unfortunate Events, provides the simple yet captivating story of Laszlo facing his phobia head-on. The remarkable collaboration of text and illustration makes The Dark a stand out children's book, perfect for talking to children about their fears.

I have never read another children's book like it, and as a mother, student of children's literature and nursery nurse I have a wide ranging knowledge of picturebooks. The ultimate simplicity of The Dark and a plot that younger readers will relate to will surely contribute to the long-lasting success that I predict for this book. It has a timeless, ethereal quality and a narrative that will never date-for as long as there are children there will be children with phobias.

My five-year-old was captivated, and particularly liked the personification of the darkness. Although not a fan of the dark himself, he wasn't scared and especially liked Laszlo, a normal boy just like him. The Dark is already a huge hit in our house!

Jon Klassen's illustrations are beyond exquisite and I cannot see how they could be bettered. They absolutely made the book for me, and The Dark has leapt straight into my list of favourite books. A beautiful book that every home should own.

Published by Orchard, The Dark is out now in hardback.

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on 19 April 2013
This book is great. firstly the story is beautifully written and the pictures are delightful. Thee story is about a little boy who is afraid of the dark. The dark is personified and eventually the boy meets the dark and overcomes his fear. Any more detail and I will spoil the story. Suffice to say, it has been a great talking point in our house and resulted in a few very useful conversations with my three year old about things that worry him and how to deal with them. At first my son did not want to read it again but he now asks for it.
Thanks Lemony....
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on 4 August 2014
The dark is a very interesting thing. There’s a lot of it when the light is off, as young Laszlo finds out when his night light bulb fails. Then the dark comes into his room. Prior to this event, the dark lived quite happily in (unsurprisingly) dark places such as the basement, drawers that no one ever opened, and occasionally behind the shower curtains. At night the dark had a huge expanse to roam outside the creaky old house where they both lived. Laszlo and the dark respected each other’s space. The dark knew Laszlo and Laszlo knew the dark—in fact they even greeted each other. Well, the dark didn’t actually answer back. It never spoke until one fateful night when the bulb in Laszlo’s night light fails. The dark calls to Laszlo. Then Laszlo gets out of bed and answers the dark, which leads him all the way down to the basement…

This deceptively simple illustrated story is especially relevant for kids who are afraid of the dark. Who can say they didn’t fear something that lived under the bed, behind the door (no, that was never an old dressing gown!), or at the bottom of the stairs? This book depicts the dark and the fears of a little boy who has to learn that everything has its designated place and purpose. Without the dark there is no light. Without the night there is no day. Without the dark we would never see the moon and the stars. Without all the things in Laszlo’s house, providing hiding places for the dark, there would be no dark. And the dark is a necessary part of life. The size of the book, 11x7.1 inches is actually the perfect size for little hands to grasp. In addition, the dark looks very big (there’s a lot of it, as I said) while Laszlo looks very small, creating a huge contrast between them. The story has mystery, shivers, scary bits, and leads the young reader all the way down to the basement, where the dark turns out to be very helpful indeed. I’d recommend this for all young readers and their parents (who might still be afraid of the dark). It is a charming tale by the inimitable Lemony Snickett, beautifully illustrated by Jon Klassen. Five stars.
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Although this is a picture book, personally I feel it is suitable for slightly older readers - reception age, or even older. Laszlo lives in a large house, where the dark lurks, even in the daytime. The dark hides in the cupboard, behind the shower curtain and mostly in the basement. Then, one night, the dark visits Laszlo in his bedroom and wants to show him something - does he dare to visit the basement at night? Now, you can view this book as creepy and, indeed, the illustrations are a little scary in places - but then, many children do find the dark frightening. However, I think that this is a very reassuring read indeed. I read this to a group of four and five year olds and they really enjoyed discussing it. As the book says, "You might be afraid of the dark but the dark is not afraid of you." Once children learn to understand why they are afraid of something, it becomes less scary and I would not hesitate to recommend this book to any parent whose child was afraid of the dark. If, however, you think this might be too frightening, there is "Darkness Slipped In," by Ella Burfoot for younger children, or "The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark," by Jill Tomlinson for older children who need reassurance.
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on 18 January 2014
I am fifteen years old and this book scared the heck out of me
It's a wonderful book but it's hella scary
and it's only like ten pages long
don't ask me how a ten page long book for 3-6 years scared me but it did. The bit where the dark is like 'come closer' wow that's just frightening
but 10/10 would reccomend
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on 28 September 2013
What a delightful story, elegantly written and beautifully drawn. There is nothing to be scared of, but there is plenty to be understood.
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on 21 December 2013
"The Dark" written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen is a book for children telling a story about one common kids fear and ways how to beat it.

The main character, young boy named Laszlo, is afraid of the dark. Every morning, he greets the dark in the basement, hoping it won't come to him.
But one evening as the sun slowly sets, Laszlo's fear will address him by voice. And then Laszlo will have to deal with it not being able to run and hide anymore...

Although the plot seems simple, the author who previously made A Series of Unfortunate Events", a great series for kids, once again did fantastic job together with illustrator delivering uniquely presented book about common children fear.
In particular this innovative approach can be seen in the end of the book that is completely different and, to put it simply, just excellent.
Klassen's illustrations made in dark and gloomy tones nicely complements author's writing making it at the same time and a bit scary book, but due to its outcome also full of encouragement for the little reader.

Therefore, if your kid is being afraid of the darkness, this book might be of great help to explain there's nothing to be afraid of.
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on 27 March 2014
Having read all the previous reviews I'm not sure I've read the same book!!. Shortlisted for the 2014 Kate Greenaway award, I found this book frightening and disturbing and not one I'd want to share with a young child even if it was to try and help them overcome fears - I think it could create more. I also didn't like the pictures. They are all dark and unfinished, almost crude. I'm sure the names have helped to sell this book
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on 10 October 2015
I gave it 3 stars because I didn't like it at all but my son is so fond of it, I had to buy it. He is actually afraid of dark, but it is one of the two books that helped him a lot in overcoming the fear of darkness and the fear of death, the other one is The lonely tree by Nicolas Halliday.
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on 9 October 2014
From the title, it is easy to guess what this picture book is going to be about. But what you can't guess, is how the story will unravel. Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen work cleverly together to create a lot from so very little.

With quite a low word count, it really is true that every word count and also every illustration counts. It has been very well thought out.

The layout of the illustrations and how you 'read' them add extra emphasis and delight to the storytelling.I love the darkness of the illustrations but how the black, makes the little spots of light stand out even more (look at the front cover of the book!)

The is a treasure for any child trying to overcome a fear. It's a treasure for those who collect picture books.And treasure for those who just enjoy Snicket and Klassen's work.
A must have book.
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