CM . . . . Volume XV Number 13. . . .February 20, 2009.
Scaredy Squirrel at Night.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2009.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
Kindergarten-grade 5 / Ages 5-10.
Review by Robert Groberman.
Scaredy’s Nighttime “To Do” List:
1. Count stars (should keep you occupied for a while)
2. Play cymbals (loud, annoying noise is sure to keep you wide awake)
3. Take up scrapbooking (keeps you well-organized and productive)
In Mélanie Watt’s fourth picture book in the Scaredy Squirrel series, Scaredy Squirrel at Night, Scaredy confronts a fear familiar to many young readers, a fear of the dark. In this volume, Scaredy, a character who is fearful of everything and who, in previous books has confronted his fears of making friends, the beach and just leaving his tree, must now confront his fear of nighttime horrors of “dragons, fairies, ghosts, unicorns, vampire bats [and] polka-dot monsters.”
In her charming and child-friendly way, Watt lays out pages so that illustrations of lists contain a picture of each list item as it appears, allowing children to associate each picture with the word which represents it. Children will enjoy the full-page, detailed illustrations of Scaredy doing his scrapbooking to avoid sleep and dreams and the shadowy picture which shows all of his greatest fears appear, but when a light is shone on the scene, they will see that all of these fearful shadows were created by tricks of shadows.
Children will also enjoy having this book read to them while they enjoy the illustrations, and older children will enjoy the story and understand the more mature humour of a horoscope which states that “all your dreams will come true” when all of your dreams are nightmares. For readers who share Scaredy’s concern, the book has a glow-in-the-dark cover!
Robert Groberman is a grade three teacher at Kirkbride Elementary School in Surrey, BC.
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