KATZ, Danny (text) Mitch Vane (illus.) A Book About Scary Five Mile Press, 2013 unpaged $16.99 ISBN 9781743460443 SCIS 1619426
This is a clever book; not only does it identify many fears common to young children, the inclusion of humour lifts the reader’s reaction and enables a different perspective. The first endpaper identifies 18 fears, these include ‘monsters’ and ‘dentists’, but also ‘stripes’ and ‘the Easter bunny’! The final endpaper reassures us that ‘It’s OK to be scared, everyone’s scared of something’, and as well as the author’s and illustrator’s confessions there is room to draw one’s own fears.
The book is arranged alphabetically, some entries are just a small picture and a few words, but for others a mini story unfolds with the child discovering that perhaps clowns/escalators/moths/party balloons are not so scary after all. This would be a great book to share with both individual kids and groups, and being able to talk about scary things might well help many. The engaging cartoon figures and wild exaggeration add to the book’s appeal – and thus to its usefulness.
reviewed by Jo Goodman