Laszlo, a boy, is afraid of the dark. Seems like a story we’ve heard many times before, but not like this. Slowly Lazlo’s fear of the dark turns into understanding and acceptance of the dark. Lazlo realizes that the dark can be a friend and an ally, helping to shelter from the often disconcerting brightness of the light. Light must exist with the dark or light will be too overpowering and, in fact, frightening.
In “The Dark” by Lemony Snickett with illustrations by Jon Klassen, the dark becomes a character, complete with a voice and feelings. It is hurt when Lazlo tries to avoid it and it is happy when it can help Lazlo understand it. That’s what turns this from a potentially frightening book into a warm and friendly book. This book does not portray the dark as a monster, as something to be afraid of. It presents the dark just as it is, something that is there, something that exists where light does not.