Way back in our Life Before Children, Steady Eddie and I used to listen to audiobooks together sometimes when we traveled. (I think the last time we did this was almost four years ago now on our tenth anniversary trip. That’s sad, isn’t it?) We enjoyed listening to Lemony Snicket‘s Series of Unfortunate Events, but I haven’t kept up with Lemony Snicket since my years as an elementary school librarian. I was quite surprised, then, when I saw a new book by him in our library’s new picture books bin. A picture book? By Lemony Snicket? Well, I had to check it out! The Dark doesn’t disappoint, just as I expected. It’s the story of a little boy named Laszlo who is afraid of the dark. In this story, though, the dark isn’t just the dark. No, in this book takes on a personality of its own. It is completely personified throughout the story. It “lives in the same house as Laszlo”; it “sometimes. . .hid in the closet”; at night it “went out and spread itself against the windows and doors of Laszlo’s house.” In fact, the dark even talks to Laszlo and invites him down to the basement, where the dark actually resides. And there, something quite unexpected happens.
This is a rather dark (get it?) picture book, but it has a good, even happy ending. It’s suspenseful and even creepy right up until the very end. Because of the suspense and the personification, it’s one of those stories that you could very easily make a lesson out of, although I think that would probably ruin it. I’m not sure it’s the book to read to just any kid, but my girls liked it. Caldecott winning illustrator Jon Klassen drives the suspense and creepiness home with his muted illustrations. They really look like something out of an old suspense film. Because it’s so unusual, I won’t be surprised if it gets some sort of recognition once the 2013 awards are handed out. (Little, Brown and Co., 2013)
I had another book to share today, but alas, but one of the girls has made off with it and I can’t find it. Another day, perhaps.
What’s in your read aloud basket? 🙂