Share with kids who like their spooky stories more silly than scary.

SCARECROW MAGIC

What happens to a scarecrow under the glow of a full moon? He leads a night of fun and frolic with other nocturnal creepy creatures.

Masessa creates suspense with steady rhyming text: “Hung from a post, a man made of straw / Moves a finger, a hand, an eyebrow, a jaw. // The magic is building. The ground comes alive. / Troublesome creatures begin to arrive.” Readers will observe oddly shaped beings emerging from the soil and appearing in jagged silhouettes on the horizon. Fantastical ghouls of many types come running to join the scarecrow in his field. But a page turn shows him as “He jumps from his post, landing light as a pin. / With a zip and a swoosh, he slips out of his skin.” The double-page spread shows the scarecrow stripped down to his skeletal self (but for polka-dot boxers) and gleefully jumping into the pond. Soon the goblins are jumping rope and bowling with pumpkins and gourds, and each monster hides “while skeleton seeks!” But soon the sun begins to rise, and the creatures must “blend into the shadows” or “burrow down low” while Scarecrow “zips up his skin” and climbs back to his post. Myers expertly paints highly detailed and textured illustrations to bring all the nighttime antics to life. Even though the various creatures look scary at first glance, a closer look reveals their toothy grins and playful behavior.

Share with kids who like their spooky stories more silly than scary. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-69109-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more