One of the things Ive learned over years of providing daycare is that if you want holiday books you have to put them on hold at the library early.
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There was one book that I absolutely knew I wanted to read during the Fall and Halloween time of year. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything doesnt talk about Halloween, but of course any time children see pumpkins it is what they think of.
The story starts with a little old lady going for a walk in the forest to collect spices, nuts and seeds. Walking for a long time it started to get dark, but since she wasnt afraid of anything it didnt bother her.
Suddenly in the path there are two big shoes. The shoes made a sound all of their own. As she continues she runs in to pants, a shirt, gloves, a top hat and finally a pumpkin too.
Each time she finds items ahead in her path she hurries along and the items follow her.
Two shoes go CLOMP, CLOMP,
One pair of pants go WIGGLE, WIGGLE,
One shirt go SHAKE, SHAKE,
Two gloves go CLAP, CLAP,
One hat go NOD, NOD,
And one scary pumpkin head go BOO, BOO!
Since she wasnt afraid of anything the pumpkin is sad because he cant scare anyone. The little old lady comes up with a plan that makes all of the objects happy especially the pumpkin head.
The illustrations are placed on one side of each two paged spread and have a white border around them. The interesting folk art type of drawings use dark shadows and shading to give this book a bit of a scary feel. The little old lady has a bit of a grandmotherly look to her while the clothing that she runs across on the path has a bit of an old time look as well.
All of the drawings are placed on the right side of the book, while the medium black text is placed on the left side.
I love the first read of any book that may have a bit of a twist for an ending and this one certainly fit into that category. As I was reading to 3 year old Sonny and 4 year old Jake I had so much fun watching their faces. I can tell how involved they are in a book by how much of their lunch they are eating as Im reading. Neither one took a bite during this book!
The adding of clothing led to repetitive lines which I enjoy in books because it reinforces what weve read, has a cadence that the children quickly learn and also help with word recognition. This books chorus gets longer and longer as it is read, which also encourages the reader to read faster and faster in a voice that can get scarier and scarier as you go. The book in no way is frightening, even to young listeners, but there is a bit of a mystery to it that makes the listener really listen with anticipation.
It didnt take many reads before the boys both knew what each item of clothing did and loved that I would read the first part of the line and they would fill in the action that the clothing or pumpkin took. Ive even just said things like The two shoes said: and Sonny will fill in the blank, even without the book being read. I like that this book has encouraged them to remember what has been read to them.
The illustrations are interesting a have enough bright color to hold the eye, but there isnt so much that they distract from the words. They add to what is being read and encourage children to really get involved in the story. I love the old fashioned style that they are done in and the fun it is to see things like a shirt or pants sort of dancing on the path.
I very highly recommend this book for children as young as 3 and think that children up to around 7 or 8 would enjoy hearing this spooky book.
Nuts & Bolts
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything was written by Linda Williams and illustrated by Megan Lloyd.
Thomas Y. Crowell Juvenile Books published this 32 page hardcover book in 1986. It was chosen as a Junior Literary Guild selection as an outstanding book for boys and girls.
This book is recommended for children 4 8 years old. Ive found that 3 year old Sonny loves it and listens very intently, so may be suitable for a younger child than the recommendation.
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