In light of Halloween, I decided to read “The Dark” by Lemony Snicket of the Bad Beginnings fame, illustrated by one of my (new) favorites – Jon Klassen. While technically NOT a Halloween story, it is darn scary, perfect for brave second graders.
Enter the second grade class. “I am going to read a scary book.” I turn off the lights. “It is called ‘The Dark’.” They squeal. So I put on my creepiest reading voice and start the story. They are enthralled. Leaning forward, hanging on every word, eyes wide.
The main character, Laszlo is being lured down to the basement by The Dark. He creeps down the stairs. He reaches out to open the drawer. I shout BOO!
The second graders scream. They jump. They roll on the floor. We laugh for five minutes. It was GREAT I tell you. So great in fact I set aside the pumpkin book I have for the first graders and read it to them. Same reaction. We love it. If I had 50 copies, they would all be checked out. “Read it again,” they beg.
Next come the kindergartners. I begin the story, they are engaged. Laszo is walking down the basement stairs and I look up. The kindergartners are terrified. Eyes huge, clinging to each other, one girl with tears brimming. From the back of the class a small, fearful voice says, “I am afraid of the dark.”
I stop right there and lighten up. A lot. We use this an opportunity to predict what might be in that drawer and they decide hopefully that “It is something good.” They story goes along nicely after that, but I did not yell BOO and they left happy, although they told their teacher on me. Hmmm
Now I am not going to ruin this book for you. You will have to read it yourself to find out what is in that drawer. You should read it. In the dark.