The Dark, a children’s picture book written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Jon Klassen, is a brilliant model of how children picture books can help children overcome a common childhood fear. In the picture book, the theme of fear is shown by the way the main character, Laszlo, interacts with ‘the dark’. Laszlo conquering his fear of the dark is shown through the illustrations, font and language used.
Jon Klassen has produced pictures that portray numerous feelings. He has used artistic mediums such as ink, watercolour, sponges and watercolour paper. Using the watercolour paper, he has neatly speckled ink in places to create texture, drawn with an ink pens the objects and outlines. He has also contrasted the places with watercolour to plain areas with just ink. Klassen has chosen cool and warm colours such as, orange, blue, red, pink, yellow and the shades white, black and grey to signify the contrast between light and dark and tension between Laszlo and ‘The Dark’. The main character, Laszlo, catches the reader’s attention through his expressions, where he is placed and his body language. These influential illustrations support the convincing storyline and reinforce the theme of fear.
The formal, straightforward style of font effectively matches the storyline and illustrations. It gives the same mysterious tension as the shadowy images and is very suitable for its secretive and dark concept of fear. The font changes colour from black to white to contrast between the dark areas and light areas of the illustrations. It is very easy to follow and read as it does not have those types of text where readers have to read it upside down or have to turn the book. Reading it gives the effect that this type of theme (fear) is an important subject and can be taken seriously for young readers who have this type of fear.
The language in The Dark is refined, sophisticated and visionary. Lemony Snicket uses