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Grade 1-3–Simon Lester Henry Strauss insists again and again that he is not afraid of this haunted house. As he and his friends go further inside it, the rhymes and his efforts to prove his bravery get more grotesque. Primary-grade children will love the verses of horrific comedy (I'm not afraid when a wedding takes place,/and Frankenstein's bride can't find her face) but, unfortunately, they may pass this picture book over, assuming that it is for the preschool set, which it clearly is not. The pictures and perfect singsong rhythm of the rhyming text belie some of the edgier and gorier couplets (At the reception, I try blood and brains./For dessert, I sample guts and veins). Simon's I'm-not-afraid mantra gets louder and larger on the page until the end when readers find that though he is bold and headstrong, there is one small thing that does in fact scare him quite a bit. Funny images in muted tones of a screaming ghoul, a werewolf, bloodsucking beasts, and a pool of blood dominate the pages, while the young protagonist relishes all that he encounters.–Julie Roach, Watertown Free Public Library, MA
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K-Gr. 2. Who could ask for more in a Halloween book than full-color illustrations oozing goo, eyeballs, and hideous creatures? In fact, this entry in the spooky book fest also delivers a fun story, though Murfin's pictures (reminiscent of the Lane Smith's in Math Curse, 1995) are enough to satisfy all on their own. The rhyming text, about facing down fears, centers on kids going through a haunted house. As they venture along, their leader, Simon Lester Henry Strauss, loudly proclaims: "I'm not afraid of this haunted house!" Nothing scares Simon--not the Vampire's Feast, the werewolf, the graveyard, or Frankenstein's wedding. The deliciously creepy yet comical pictures show Simon propelling running and tumbling kids from one fright to another--until he meets his own surprising match at the close. Connie Fletcher
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Spirited and frighteningly humorous a great read aloud book for parents and instructors at Halloween time, one of my children's favorites.Published 18 months ago by J.F. AMBURGEY JR.
My son, 7, loves this book! It is just engaging enough and suspenseful to keep him interested but not so scary that bad dreams follow. Great rhyme! We read this every Halloween!Published on October 31, 2010 by freeranger