From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3-Annie is warned not to go to an old mansion on Halloween night because of bats and spiders, but a friend taunts her, "I dare you to go!" Of course she does, experiencing some frightening moments on the way. She sees something out of the corner of her eye: "Was it a bat?" She feels something prickly on the back of her neck: "Was it a spider?" What are those whispers she hears as she climbs up the front stairs, and where did those cautionary signs come from? The brief text is appropriately scary, and the resolution of each suspenseful moment requires a page turn, culminating in a delightful foldout surprise as plucky Annie enters the "haunted" house. Krosoczka's richly textured, double-page cartoon paintings, executed in a dark palette filled with multidirectional brush strokes and ominous-looking shadows, create an eerie Halloween night atmosphere. The effective use of perspective causes houses and glaring street lights to overwhelm Annie and the huge mansion to loom over her, its entrance stairway appearing to go forever upward. The hand-lettered, spidery-looking negative print is placed on dark ground and grows larger when frightening questions are posed. This deliciously scary offering, paired with Linda Williams's The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything (HarperCollins, 1986), is guaranteed to haunt Halloween storyhours.
Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
PreS. Annie isn't scared of haunted places. After all, she was born on Halloween. So despite all the dire warnings of family and friends, on Halloween night she sneaks out to the creepy Montgomery mansion. The simple text is great for reading aloud, and the big double-page paintings with neon-colored images against a black background, show the brave girl's scary journey down the dark, empty street in the howling wind. Something black flies by. Was it a bat? What's tickling the back of her neck in the churchyard? When she finally gets to the brooding mansion, she hears whispers, but she dares to open the door--and the last page folds out--to a real surprise. Even when they know the cozy end, preschoolers will enjoy going back to those deliciously shivery moments, when ghostly creatures loom in the dark. Hazel Rochman
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