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The Storybarn selects… from The Reader Bookshelf

Written by Maisie Jeynes, 6th June 2022

To celebrate the launch of the new Reader Bookshelf we've asked members of our Children & Young People Team to talk about their favourite children's books from the collection.

This week, our Head of Children & Young People, Annie Bowden, shares her thoughts on The Dark by Lemony Snicket.



The theme of darkness and light is shared beautifully in so many children’s books. One of my favourites, which explores this with such sensitivity and care, is The Dark written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Laszlo is a little boy who is scared of the dark. Laszlo is seemingly alone in a big, old, creaky house with only the dark for company. The dark can be found in many places in Laszlo’s house: in the closet, behind the shower curtain, inside the cupboard but especially in the basement.

One night, the lightbulb in Laszlo’s room goes out and in comes the dark to call his name. Laszlo feels scared but the dark speaks, encouraging him to go down into the basement. Laszlo follows the dark to the basement and discovers that whilst he may be afraid of the dark, the dark is not afraid of him and is always close by. The dark shows Laszlo where to find the lightbulbs and Laszlo, by confronting his fear, finds a companion.

Jon Klassen’s illustrations allow us to share this adventure with Laszlo. Laszlo guides us on this journey, choosing what we see by the warmth of his torch-light showing us that ultimately light and dark can blend together in harmony.

This wonderful story explores what it means to fear and how we can face our fears even when it might feel tricky and hard. Laszlo shares with us his courage and bravery, demonstrating that we can all face our fears if we choose to explore them a little deeper.

Words by Annie Bowden.

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