THE FUN BOOK OF SCARY STUFF
Author: Emily Jenkins
Illustrator: Hyewon Yum
A child and two dogs discuss a range of potentially scary things in this pitch-perfect exploration of childhood fears. The child, who could be a girl or a boy, works through a list that includes monsters, ghosts, witches, swimming pools with sharks, and, of course, the dark. They discuss the fears in an analytical tone, such as when the bull terrier asks, “What’s so bad about ghosts?” and the child replies, “I hate the way you can see through them.” Watercolor illustrations with pencil outlines and details depict the threats as creepy but not aggressive—rather, they hover patiently around the edges of the child’s room during the discussions. Jenkins’ approach is an effective, balanced one—the story acknowledges the child’s anxiety, while the dogs gently deflect it. Further lightening the mood is the humorous interplay among the three characters, particularly the know-it-all bull terrier and tiny pug, who tries very hard to act tough. In the end, it’s the child who helps the dogs be brave. Children will be amused and reassured by this playful combination of scary and fun.
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