'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 can 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 shall 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.
With thanks to Orchard for providing me with a review copy of The Dark. You can find out more about Lemony Snicket at www.lemonysnicketlibrary.com and Jon Klassen at www.burstofbeaden.com .