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Dark At The Top Of The Stairs
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Dark At The Top Of The Stairs

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Is it true that a monster lives at the top of the stairs? Three young mice decide they must see for themselves and ask a wise old mouse to take them there. He warns them of the danger--yet they still insist on going. So, step by step, the mice climb the creaky stairs, growing ever closer to the dark shadows--until they are whisker to whisker with the creature who lives at ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 7th 1996 by Candlewick Press
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  103 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some young mice are convinced that there is a monster living at the top of the stairs. What happens when they finally work up the courage to climb the steps is pretty cute.

The illustrations by Ivan Bates are just lovely, and very atmospheric.

Lovely little book, kind of a monster book, but easier on little readers because it is from mice's perspective, so what is scary to them is not necessarily scary to humans. Very short and efficient, but the buildup is still very atmospheric and memorable, and a good counterpoint to the quick conclusion.

Update: Six weeks after my five year old and I read this and we got out a cat book - now she is scared of cats. Hmm, I guess this story isn't as mild as I thought!
Zackery Busse
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Dark at The top of The Stairs has many wonderful full bleed one page and two page spreads. The color scheme contains mostly dark colors with the exception of one page that contains bright colors. Throughout the story the mice are building their way up to the dark at the top of the stairs so everything is shadowy and mysterious, but once they reach the top of the stairs and venture further, the darkess dissipates and bright colors emerge. The point of view of the illustrations for almost oall ...more
Such a cute story about a family of mice that live in the basement. When the children get up their courage, they climb the stairs only to find a cat lives up there. They aren't interested in going up there again.
Vanessa Arredondo
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book has been one of my favorite children books that I have read so far. One every page there is a different color that stands out from the rest. The color blue was the one seen more throughout the book. It is in a horizontal position which makes better since the illustrations cover the entire page. The point of view is from a worm’s eye view since the mice are looking up at the door. The texture made me want to touch the pages. This book did not have any border and the text it’s mostly on ...more
Analissa Cox
Feb 05, 2012 rated it liked it
The Dark At the Top of the Stairs was a funny book about four mice, one old and three young, who were curious about a darkness that lingered at the top of the stairs in the attic where they live. The older mouse took the three younger mice to the top after they begged him to take them. When they reached the top they run into a cat who they believe is a monster and never want to return again. So in the story curiosity did not kill the cat, but the cat frightened curiosity! The images in this stor ...more
Sep 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 6-mystery
Author: Sam McBratney
Illustrator: Ivan Bates
Genre: Mystery
Grade Level: 4.2
Lexile: 650L

Summary: In this mystery, three young mice want to find out if there is a monster living at the top of the cellar stairs. They ask an older and wiser mouse for advice and he warns them of danger. They decide to go any way and find adventures along the way. This is a little bit of a scary story. Might be a good Halloween/adventure story. I want to read holiday books to my class...this would be a good one.
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Four young mice are quite curious to know what's at the top of the creaky old staircase. The wise old mouse tells them they are better off not knowing, but they will not be put off. So the wise mouse tells them they are welcome to investigate. So the next morning after breakfast all four mice start for the top of the stairs. After surviving all of the creaks and groans put off by the stairs, they finally make it to the top...only to discover that there is a cat at the top of the stairs!
The Brothers
Jan 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cats, mice, fears
Some little mice are determined to see the monster and the dark at the top of the stairs in the cellar that they live in, despite their grandfather suggesting another way to spend the day. They are properly terrified by the cat "monster" and return to other, safer activities after their adventure.

Illustrations are okay.
Guadalupe Ramirez
I think this is a great book to assess students in reading comprehension as students can make a lot of predictions, for example they can make predictions about "what is in the dark?" There are also a lot of opportunities for questioning. The book also teaches children to listen to their parents or guardian.
Darlene Wilson
Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Another for the PCH -- they loved it! Enjoyed the illustrations -- a perfect little Hallowe'en story -- we then talked about the mice at the farms where they used to live -- laughed together of scary and funny stories from their years passed. Worked out well!
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful book! Simply written with a wonderful message, but the real winning feature of this book is the illustrations. They are absolutely captivating, dark, with stunning shading yet kid-friendly with the adorable features of the mice. Highly recommend for all ages!
Oct 10, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was interesting mostly due to it's illustrations. The images of the stairs made you feel as if you were climbing them. The illustrator did a wonderful job representing the eerieness of the journey.
Stacia Leigh
Written very well with fun, descriptive language paired with brilliant illustrations. Really set a mood. What's up there? The ending was quite satisfying and looped around nicely.

Highly recommend.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
What really makes this story are the wonderful illustrations of Ivan Bates, who gives readers a mouse's eye view of the cellar and those tall, dark stairs. Sometimes curiosity just has to be satisfied. Cute!
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
So suspenseful! Would work with cat/mouse, monster, or maybe even nighttime storytimes
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-alouds
Great spooky story that forgoes the supernatural. Also a gentle lesson about risk taking and testing boundaries.
Betsy Kimes
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations are brilliant including looking up a staircase from a mouse's perspective. Has anticipation. Another fun book to read with animation to my kids.
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this dramatically. The kids will love it.
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Every time I read this, I think it must be a metaphor for something about adult life. What, I have no idea.
Hyeladarda Ezra
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The Northern Ireland native started writing children's books when he was a teacher in his thirties, with the aim of helping out students who had trouble reading. But he continued writing for a more-personal reason: "the act of imagining simply makes me feel good," he says. The fifty-seventh book of Sam McBratney's career, and his first book with Candlewick Press, was the much-loved GUESS HOW MUCH ...more