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Precious and the Boo Hag (Anne Schwartz Books) Hardcover – January 1, 2005


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Precious and the Boo Hag (Anne Schwartz Books) + Oddrey + The Three Ninja Pigs
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 710L (What's this?)
  • Series: Anne Schwartz Books
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689851944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689851940
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 10.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A young African-American girl named Precious has a stomachache, so she has to stay at home alone while the whole family leaves to plant corn. Mama tells her, "Now remember, don't let nothing and nobody in this house--not even me, 'cause I got a key." Precious's older brother warns her with a wink that, you never know, Pruella the Boo Hag could even try to get in: "She's tricky and she's scary, and she tries to make you disobey yo' mama." Sure enough, the shapeshifting Pruella shows up, first as a big, mean force with lightning hair and burning-cinder eyes; then as a friendly-looking, but more-than-slightly off visitor asking for a drink of dirty dishwater; then as a strange, raspy-voiced facsimile of her friend Addie Louise; and finally, as a copper penny. Clever Precious never falls for the Boo Hag's half-baked disguises (the Boo Hag "aine too smart") and her family is proud to find her at home safe and sound. That night, as Precious hums her victory song in bed, the reader is asked to look just outside her window... have we really seen the end of Boo Hag? Kyrsten Brooker's wonderfully expressive, mixed-media collage illustrations shine with as much humor, motion, and texture as the story. Young readers will revel in this original, vivacious, suspenseful-but-not-too-scary, read-aloud tale about a child's conquest of a genuinely spooky foe. (Ages 6 to 8) --Karin Snelson

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 3–When Precious's bellyache keeps her from helping in the fields, she is left at home alone, with Mama's strict instructions to let no one inside the house for any reason, no matter what. This admonition is reinforced by Brother's warning that if she is not careful, Pruella the Boo Hag might sneak in. Frightening Boo Hags tell lies and are rude, and try to get children to disobey their mamas. Worst of all, they change shapes, so they are hard to recognize. Temptation comes in many forms and Precious is surely baited. But she is a plucky girl who confronts her fears and, in the end, clings to what she knows is right. The spirited language and vivid images will draw out the performer in every reader. The authors have produced an enchanting tale that is a pinch scary but a peck of fun. Brooker's oil-and-collage illustrations enhance the excitement while providing a glimpse of a modest home with peeling paint, braided rugs, and homemade jam. These images evoke real warmth and comfort, fortifying Precious–and readers–to meet her challenges. Find a comfy chair, gather an audience, and enjoy this wonderful book.–Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I fell in love with this book the first time I read it.
B. Youngblood
Good opportunity here to speak to children about right and wrong.
aaa-Pam
This is a book that will be a lot of fun for young readers.
The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on January 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
During cotton planting season, everyone in Precious' family is needed to work in the fields. But on this particular day, Precious isn't feeling well and must stay at home alone. Her mother, nervous about leaving her daughter home alone for the first time, rattles off a list of rules for her daughter to abide by, the most important rule being that under no circumstances should Precious let anyone into the house. Her brother further warns her about Pruella, a Boo Hag who is a strange and tricky creature who tries to fool children and get them to let her into their homes. He further warns that if Pruella gets into the house, Precious will be nothing but sorry. In order to stay out of trouble, Precious must go toe-to-toe with Pruella in a battle of wits. Who will win?

This is a book that will be a lot of fun for young readers. While Pruella is tricky and troublesome, she is the kind of creature that children will find amusing with just a hint of creepiness. The antics in the book will keep readers on their toes throughout the story. The illustrations have a down-home and inviting feel that further enhance the book. This is a wonderful book that is sure to please.

Reviewed by Stacey Seay, Children's Editor

for The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By aaa-Pam TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My daughter (kindergartener) and I have been having so much fun with this book. We take turns being the Boo Hag and trying to trick each other into bad behavior-- because that's what Boo Hags do, you know!

And while the Editorial Reviewers have done a fine job summarizing the plot, they overlook the fact that you can use this story to talk about conscience and impulse control. Perhaps not in exactly those terms, but in Mom and kid terms. We've talked about children behaving badly on the playground, concluding that they must have been `listening to that ole Boo Hag." And how they should have listened to their 'conscience' which knows better than to act up and misbehave.

Five Stars. Fun story. Good Read-aloud. See the Editorial Reviewers for a good description of the story. Good opportunity here to speak to children about right and wrong.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Don't let strangers in your house. How much clearer could a person be? Stranger at the door? Don't let them in! End of story. Now you wouldn't always know it, but that kind of admonishment can lead to all sorts of interesting situations and stories. Every year I keep track of all the picture books that win the major awards. Not just the Caldecott, mind you, but also the American Library Association's Best Books of the Year, the Boston-Globe Horn Book Awards, the School Library Journal list, etc. I keep a sharp eye out for any book that manages to get a toehold on as many lists as possible. In 2005 all the regulars were there. Your "Hello, Goodbye Window"s and your "Zen Shorts". But one of the books listed was an unassuming little number by children's author extraordinaire Patricia McKissack entitled, "Precious and the Boo Hag". It didn't get the press it deserved and it was too modest to draw attention to itself, but this little number was one of the best-loved books of the year. A wonderful tale of a young girl outwitting a powerful but not particularly clever boo hag, the book draws together all kinds of great classic storytelling elements without ever becoming bogged down or clunky under its narrative. A ruby in the dust.

One day Precious suffers from a horrible stomachache all night without cease. Her mother allows her stay home for the day but warns her not to open the front door for anyone. In fact, Precious's brother agrees with this advice and tells his little sister that she should watch out for the Boo Hag. "She's tricky and she's scary, and she tries to make you disobey yo' mama". Sure enough, once the family is gone Precious sees the terrifying sight of a nasty creature riding on the back of an approaching storm.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ulyyf on September 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Precious is a real heroine, being brave and clever and - thankfully - sensible. She doesn't let anybody into the house, which is just the way it should be. I could read this book again and again with my nieces.

It *is* a little scary - if you have a sensitive child, read this book before buying it. Also, the characters do not speak Standard American English but use a nonstandard dialect - "Boo Hags aine too smart", for example. This does not concern me - I think it's better to expose children to a wide variety of speech patterns - but if it is an issue for you, again, read before you buy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By B. Youngblood on January 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Never let strangers into the house! Mind your manners! Always tell the truth! This book teaches age-old childhood lessons in a fun way. When her big brother warns her about the Boo Hag, "She's tricky and she's scary and she tries to make you disobey yo' mama...Pruella is strange from head to toe. She aine none too smart, got no manners, hates clean water, can change her shape, and tells whoppers." Precious has no idea how tricky a Boo Hag can be. With quick wit (and hilarious sing-song taunts) Precious teaches the Boo Hag a lesson she won't soon forget.
I fell in love with this book the first time I read it. As a Media Specialist, I have used it for many story times and the children can never get enough. This book begs to be read aloud. It has predictability, repetition, and a child hero that outwits the villain. Children of all ages will love this story.

Read this book if:
* You love "scary" books
* You love books about African American heritage
* You love trickster stories
* You love read-aloud books

[...]
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