CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 12. . . .November 22, 2013
"Be prepared" is a motto that Mélanie Watts's character, Scaredy Squirrel, would certainly share with the Boy Scouts. Scaredy believes in preparing for any up-coming activities which may involve danger-- and what more dangerous a holiday to prepare for than Halloween?
In Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween, award-winning author/illustrator Mélanie Watt has created her eighth Scaredy Squirrel book in which her agoraphobic, paranoid, obsessive-compulsive protagonist faces the appalling dangers of the world outside his tree home. For Scaredy, a safety guide is everything! In this instance, his guide assumes the form of a preface and eight short chapters which take the reader through the many dangers inherent in dealing with this holiday: decoration, costumes, Trick-or-Treating, candy, notes, fun and... If All Else Fails (as Scaredy fans will be quick to predict)–Play Dead!
Watt's blend of humor, horror and hyperbole in Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween will appeal as much to adults as to young listeners. Beginning readers will be excited to read and chuckle their way through a "Chapter" book, one with plenty of text and engaging illustrations to help them along.
As always, Watt hits the nail on the head with her theme. Fears that young heads harbour are sometimes not recognized or understood by adults. Grown-ups may have forgotten what fears they entertained as children, including some of Scaredy's bugaboos, such as germs, sharks, haunted mansions, green Martians, killer bees and and (last but not least) leaving home!
Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween should take its rightful place with the Halloween collection on elementary school shelves. It will be a popular read-aloud for the classroom teacher or librarian to enjoy with Scaredy's many fans among the Kindergarten to Grade 4 crowd.
A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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