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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Review: The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Laszlo is afraid of The Dark. He has bedside lights and torches to help him get through the night. During the day, he tries to confront his fear of the dark, but when night time comes, he's just as scared as always. 

Sophisticated picture books are a tricky children's genre to get right. There are so many levels:
1) Get the pictures just right
2) The story needs to be interesting to the kids
3) There needs to be a deeper meaning

Think about all the great "kids" movies out there, Monsters Inc, Toy Story etc.

On one level they look like kids movies that parents take them to, but parents love going to them too. There is one level for the kids, and then another humour or deeper meaning level for the adults. I love Despicable Me and it is my favourite "kids" movie because of that.

Back to The Dark. So here we have a book that has interesting pictures. As my class kids said, it looks like the pictures look really old but the book is brand new. Pictures...nailed it.

The story needs to be interesting to the kids...hmmm...while I think the kids were engaged with the story and they were waiting to see what The Dark was, I not sure it has a lot of re-readability to it.

My favourite part, the deeper meaning (I'm such a teacher), is very good. It has a meaning that all kids can relate to. As kids (even adults!), we've all been afraid of the dark. We have different coping mechanisms and as we get old, we either deal with it completely or we pretend to the kids we aren't afraid of anything!

Here are some quotes from my kids about The Dark:
"The pictures are modern." - Emily
"I liked the story, how he was scared but then he wasn't." - Mariella
"It encourages little kids they don't have to be afraid of the dark." - Christian & Tesimoni
"It's a good book for little kids." - Sofia

So is The Dark by Lemony Snicket going to be a classic? No, but for a teacher geek like me, it is a winner.

1 comment:

  1. I am impressed by how thoughtful and well written the reviews on this blog are by the kids (and teacher as well). It's always wonderful to see young minds so adamant about reading. Keep up the great work!