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Psssst! It's Me...The Bogeyman Hardcover – September 1, 1998

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this accurate appraisal of nighttime fear, a bona fide Bogeyman describes his terror tactics. The disembodied Bogeyman, represented as two icy-blue hands with spiky scarlet fingernails, traps a boy at bedtime. As the boy keeps his arms and legs away from the under-the-bed abyss, the monster-protagonist clears up misconceptions, insisting that he doesn't say "boo" ("Boo's a baby word, Bubbie"), and that he doesn't plan to "get ya" ("If I got ya, what would I do with ya?... My job is to scare ya. I don't want to raise ya"). The Bogey's only mistake is admitting his allergy to smelly socks, and the boy's alarmed expression turns to a sly smirk as he realizes how to banish his nemesis. YA novelist Park (Mick Harte Was Here) expertly toys with her victims. Her narrator is both coy and creepy. Likewise, Kroninger's (If I Crossed the Road) cut-paper-and-cloth collages balance humor and horror. As smiling ghosts and skeletons dance on the bedroom walls, looking like run-of-the-mill Halloween decorations, the faceless, flirtatious Bogeyman instills real fright. Varying type styles and colors emphasize key words, and amateur actors can have a blast performing the sinister monologue. The stinky-sock loophole comes at just the right moment, releasing readers into knowing laughter; still, only true skeptics should dare this before bedtime?unless adequately armed with dirty laundry. Ages 4-9.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4-Park's Bogeyman grabs ankles, playfully tickles a child's arm while he hesitantly pokes into a dark closet in search of pajamas, and otherwise scares the pants off of nervous Nellies. However, he claims he is first and foremost a true professional who strictly abides by the terms stated in the "Official Bogeyman Contract." A recent tabloid headline, "Evil Bogeyman Bellows Boo: Boy Scouts Go Berserk," has really gotten his dander up. With a "psssssssst" he gets the attention of a wide-eyed boy on top of a bed and proceeds to whine incessantly about the slanderous publicity, sounding a lot like his wolf buddy in Jon Scieszka's The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Viking, 1989). Kroninger's brightly colored paper collages are terrific and the layout, a mix of expressive typefaces with artwork that practically pops out at readers, sets just the right tongue-in-cheek tone for this giggly read-aloud. The Bogeyman's silly histrionics, full of threats, confessions, and complaints, are perfectly conveyed by the long, skinny, ice-blue arms with red fingernails that stretch out from under the bed. Rather than dispelling the notion of a bogeyman, Park and Kroninger go one better: they let children in on the secret of scaring him away for good. A special treat for Halloween, this book is also a year-round panacea for anyone who's ever been afraid of the things that go bump in the night.
John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: 610L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689816677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689816673
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,032,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. It was a small town surrounded by farmland . . . the kind of town where you greet people by name on Main Street. It was only an hour's drive to the ocean. So every summer we spent family vacations on Long Beach Island. My brother and I would ride the waves during the day and play miniature golf at night. It's the kind of idyllic memory that stays in your head long after you've grown up and moved away.
After graduating from high school and spending two years at Rider University, I transferred to the University of Alabama where I met my husband, Richard. Eventually his job brought him to Arizona. We both fell in love with the desert and wanted to stay here forever. Still, during the heat of the Arizona summers, those ocean memories would come rushing back. So-after years of sweaty summers-my husband and I finally built a house on Long Beach Island, the same island where my brother and I rode the waves as kids. In the story business, that's called "coming full circle." These days, Richard and I divide our time between the desert and the ocean. In the words of Junie B. Jones, I'm a lucky duck.

Q. What inspired you to start writing?

In my case, it was sort of "reverse" inspiration. I got a degree in secondary education. My plan was to teach high school history and political science. But, because of a scheduling problem my senior year, I ended up doing my student teaching in the seventh grade. The word disaster doesn't really cover this one. I'll spare you the details. But as I ran screaming from the school building every day, I knew that I would never be a teacher. My husband and I married after graduation, and started a family. A few years later, when I was ready to go to work, I was still haunted by the memories of student teaching. So I was "inspired" to try my hand at writing instead.

Q. How did you go about getting published?

The first children's novel I wrote was Operation: Dump the Chump. As soon as it was finished, I bought a copy of Writer's Market, found some addresses, and started sending it off to publishers who were accepting unsolicited manuscripts. It was rejected three times. All three rejections managed to work in the classic industry one-liner, "It isn't right for our list."

The fourth time I sent it to Alfred Knopf, Inc. A few weeks later, they called and said it was exactly right for their list. I felt like I'd hit the lottery.

Q: You've written middle-grade novels, early chapter books, and picture books. Which do you like writing best?

I can't really say which I like best. But after all the Junie B. books I've written, those certainly come the easiest. The middle-grade novels are more of a challenge. But in some ways, that makes them more rewarding. The last two I've written (Mick Harte Was Here and The Graduation of Jake Moon) were both about very sensitive topics, so it took a long time to get them exactly right. But I think those two books have made me the most proud.

Q. Tell us about your most recent picture book.

It's called, MA! There's Nothing to Do Here! It's about a baby in utero who is bored out of his mind. The idea for it was born (so to speak) when my daughter-in-law, Renee, invited me to my first grandson's ultrasound. Although I had never had an ultrasound myself, I'd seen pictures of other babies in utero. But I wasn't prepared for how amazing it would be to see my own little grandbaby on that screen. I felt like I was watching the Discovery Channel.

Q. How much did you continue to think about the baby after seeing the ultrasound? How did this develop into the idea for the book?

A. On the way out of the doctor's office, I remember thinking, Okay, so now we're all going back to our busy lives. But the baby is still in there just floating around. Except for an occasional kick or hiccup, he's got absolutely nothing to do.

A few months later-when I was getting ready to give Renee a baby shower-I wrote this poem, framed it, and gave it to her as a shower gift.

Q. Of the characters you've created, who is your favorite?

A. This would be a bit like picking a favorite child. I don't have a single favorite character, but again, I lived with the characters Mick and Phoebe Harte and Jake and Skelly Moon for a very long time. So those four are the most dear to me.

The characters I've had the most fun with have been the little ones. Little kids are so free to say whatever is on their minds. They aren't silenced by peer pressure and the notion that they have to sound cool. Molly Vera Thompson in The Kid in the Red Jacket is six, and Thomas Russo in My Mother Got Married and Other Disasters is five. They both were such fun to write about that they led to the creation of Junie B. Jones.

Q. Is Junie B. modeled after you as a child? Did you ever do any of the things that Junie B. does?

A. I was sent to "Principal" in first grade for talking. There were lots of notes sent home that year, as well. My father was on the Board of Education. Not good.

Q. There's been some criticism of the Junie-speak in the series. How do you answer concerns that Junie's grammar is not good for young readers?

A. Honestly, most of the grown-ups I hear from are writing to tell me that Junie B. Jones got their reluctant readers to read. I have drawers full of letters from parents and teachers that are so meaningful to me, I can't bear to part with them. These are adults who understand that fictional literature plays a whole different role in children's lives than a book of grammar or a basic reader.

That having been said, there are always going to be a handful of people who denigrate books that speak in a voice other than their own. I've stopped trying to explain the concept of literature to people like that. Wasted time better spent.

8. What makes you laugh?

My sense of humor is a little bit off-center, I think. In the movies, I usually laugh at parts that no one else seems to think are funny. Then there are movies like Young Frankenstein where I laugh from the opening scene straight through to the end.

Lots of other things make me laugh, as well. My husband and sons make me laugh. My dog. My grandsons. Friends. The absurdities of life. My lopsided cakes. The list goes on . . .

What advice do you have for teachers that are aspiring writers? For kids?

There's nothing revolutionary in my advice, I'm afraid. It's the same old stuff. Write as much and as often as you can. Try different genres to find your niche. Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And-above all-be your own worst critic.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My daughter used to be so seriously afraid of everything that we took her to a child psychiatrist. I can't let her read this book at night--not because she is afraid of it, but because she gets too wound up to go to sleep--laughing, jumping, playing bogeyman with her brother! It provides younger children with the power to chase monsters away themselves. The writing, which amounts to a monologue, is hilarious and very true to the way kids speak. The pictures of the boy's reactions are devilishly delightful too!
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Format: Paperback
We have gotten this book at lesst 10 times over the past year at
our local library. I finally decided we had to own it.
The story is hysterical and really eases "boogeyman" type fears in
young children. We love to read it with our own "boogeyman" voice
(A heavy new york accent!). This is a stroy both parents
and kids will love. Barbara Park is the author and she is
also the author of the similarly hysterical Junie B. Jones series.
Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
My 4 and 6 year old sons first found this book at the library. They loved it - especially my 4 year old. He has memorized several pages and will recite them on request. He always makes me call the library to ensure a copy is there so we can pick it up. It is his birthday and I am purchasing him his own copy. It is all he has asked for. I also find the humor of the bogeyman very entertaining. It is one of the funnest children's books we have read.
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By A Customer on April 22, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am finally purchasing a copy of this book after my son brought it home from his school library for the fifth time in a row. He's 3 1/2 and I thought it might scare him but I think it actually comforts him. It makes the bogeyman seem funny and harmless and gives kids a magical defense strategy (dirty socks). My son particularly appreciates that the bogeyman runs away to the sister's room at the end.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best children's books I have read. As a parent, I like books that entertain me also. My son loves this book; we discovered it at the library and he refuses to let me return it so we had to get one of our own. Very original. Also, I was concerned about it causing nightmares....it doesn't...it helps them get over fears of the bogeyman and the dark. I highly recommend.
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Format: Hardcover
I have just used this book for the first time this week and the upper graders and teachers loved it. I am a storyreader who travels to many schools reading my favorite books. Barbara Parks is one of my favorite authors be cause of her use of language that kids can relate to, and they can surely relate to the humor in Bogeyman! Jim McKenna, STORYREADER
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of us grew up with an irrational fear of something lurking in our closets at night. This book is a perfect foil to this childhood fear. Barbara Park (of the Junie B series) uses clever humor and a twist on the familiar take by having "the Bogeyman" explain himself. It's funny and fun and my 9-year old still loves to read it.

Sadly, it's out of print these days, so finding it new is becoming tough to do. Thanks to Amazon, there are still options to purchase this book used. It's a great humorous story you'll read again and again.
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Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
My son and I love this book. He borrowed it from his school library every week for several months. I knew I had to get it. I was so glad I found it here because it couldn't be found at local bookstores. It's really nice to see things from the bogeyman's perspective. He actually seems like a nice guy, after all.
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