Free Friday: The Dark

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The Dark

Author: Lemony Snicket

Illustrated by: Jon Klassen

As a child, the first chapter books I ever read were A Series of Unfortunate Events. When I found out that Lemony Snicket aka Daniel Handler also wrote a children’s book called The Dark, I immediately was intrigued. Did you know that Lemony Snicket is Daniel Handler’s pen name? I didn’t. Lemony Snicket continues to write dramatic stories that keep readers on the edge of their seats, eager to find out what is going to happen next whether it’s a children’s book or a chapter book.

The Dark is a story about a boy who is afraid of the dark and learns to overcome his fear. Snicket describes the scary house as having a creaky roof, empty halls and rooms and even cold windows. These words are repeated throughout the story and carry heavy meaning. Aside from the illustrations, these specific descriptions allow readers to picture the creepiness in their heads, especially when it is read with a deeper, more thoughtful tone. I found it very interesting that Snicket named the main character Lazlo. The name reflects Snicket’s ability to think outside of the box and not just choose a familiar name. He also writes stories about some of the more difficult and not so happy subjects.

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In the story, instead of the dark being a term for what it looks like at night, “dark” is a character. The darkness helps Lazlo and it guides him down to the basement. Once Lazlo is encouraged to open the drawer, he conquers his uncertainties. The bottom shelf contained multiple lightbulbs that made the room brighter than ever before. No longer uneasy, Lazlo realizes that the dark is not something scary, but instead, an entity that helped him feel safe and comfortable once again.

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Since the story is called The Dark, it is no surprise that most of the pages are filled with black illustrations. Portions of color from household items appear only when Lazlo points his flashlight towards them. I also loved how the story depicted time, beginning with a sunset and ending with a sunrise.

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The Dark is a unique children’s book that teaches readers that anyone can live with and conquer their fears. Most importantly, individuals must face their fears and never let fears immobilize or define them.

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Post by: Samantha Soloway

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