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The Little Bit Scary People Hardcover – September 23, 2008

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 6 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (September 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423100751
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423100751
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3—A shy girl confronts her fear of the many individuals who make her uncomfortable; for example: the school lunch woman who demands that each child take just one milk, the punked-out skateboarder with a loud boom box, and the school principal whose imposing figure looms large in the hallway. On one page, the child is depicted in a situation with the person who makes her apprehensive (such as the school nurse who is "a little bit scary"); but the flip of a page shows the youngster using her imagination, recasting the individual in a homey or less-threatening environment. She begins using the expression, "But I bet…" to imagine the nurse making music with his children, the principal dancing with her boyfriend, and the skateboarder who "kisses his cat on the head and scratches her neck until she purrs…." This could be a terrific book to begin a discussion about identity and forming opinions about others. It also offers students a way to feel empowered as they meet the demands of widening their world. Although most of the cartoonlike illustrations are lovely, one is an unfortunate disappointment: it depicts a black male with exaggerated facial features. Since proper racial representation is critical for children, the picture sadly mars this offering.—Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Who hasn’t met up with someone who looks scary? A girl with tousled red hair encounters a series of such people: a spike-haired dude on a skateboard, the nasty bus driver, the school principal with witchy fingernails, the stern cafeteria lady, the girl in science class who eats her pencil, and the corner policeman who scolds people. But when the girl imagines their other, warmhearted side, they’re not quite as scary. But I bet the bus driver makes fancy breakfasts in the morning for her kids. But I bet, after school on Thursdays, the principal takes dancing lessons with her boyfriend. But I bet, before dinner, the punk teenage girl plays football with her little brothers and always lets them win. I know. Because she’s my sister. The comic illustrations are just realistic enough, adding touches of humor for each imagined nice side that follows the page turn. Kids will readily relate, and parents will appreciate this fresh take on quelling kids’ fears. Preschool-Grade 2. --Julie Cummins

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Victoria R. Thorne on October 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Emily Jenkin's words speak directly to a child's unspoken fears, and soothe them in a delightful and effective manner. There isn't a child on earth who hasn't been afraid of something almost inexplicable (to them) but utterly commonplace...and there isn't a child on earth who doesn't want to conquer that fear. The lovingly crafted words in this book address what it's like to be afraid...and what it's like to work your way through the fear...

The true masterwork of the book is the amazing, evocative marriage of art and text.

Alexandra Boiger's illustrations are gorgeous, vivid, and energetic...they reflect, with love and verve, the great big multicultural world we live in. Boiger's ability to create unique characters with great personality allows us to enter their worlds, establishing an emotional connection that will speak to generations of children.

This is the book that all the children on my list will be getting for Christmas. It's one they'll remember, too, when they think about their favorites many years from now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Big Book Nut on October 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A stunningly illustrated and wonderfully wise book that will help children realize that some of the "little bit scary people" in their lives may not be so scary after all. Through the imagination of one little girl, we see irritable, strict and intimidating teachers, bus drivers, skate boarders, etc., turn into warm, loving and joyful people in other situations.
"The Little Bit Scary People" reminds us all that, like books, humans cannot be judged by their covers alone.
A book that will be read and reread for its beauty, wisdom and reassurance and that is sure to provoke many important and interesting conversations with our children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Noeth on October 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
One little girl knows. The great big world is full of strange people. There are teenagers on skateboards. Yelling teachers and principals. Weird kids at school. Assumptions are easy to make. People are SCARY.

This little girl knows something else. There are all different kinds of assumptions. And along with beautiful repetition she remembers to make those other ones too. "But I bet," teenagers love cats; principals dance, and even weird kids learn to ride their bikes.

With poignant perception, Emily Jenkins simplifies a world too complicated for adults to explain and - often - to understand. THE LITTLE BIT SCARY PEOPLE is a crucial must-have book for the development of any child or adult: "Some people are a little bit SCARY. But then sometimes....they really are not." Jenkins gently reminds all of us how quickly "I bet" can become "I know."
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By Geektasticdad on January 28, 2015
Format: Hardcover
First and foremost, the message in the Little Bit Scary People is pretty fantastic. The message is people look and act scary sometimes, but really they are normal nice people underneath it all. Each page shows how someone can seem scary while doing their job or getting through the day. The next page however shows that same person in a relaxed setting where they are sweet, or fun, or creative. Again, a pretty fun and cool message.

Next, the art is really wonderful as well. Just look at the cover on this! So good! Art gets a 5 out of 5 stars. The writing is sufficient and tells what it is like to be a child in a world of "scary" adults, but it is not especially clever. Writing gets 3 out of 5 stars. The ending is a mixed bag. It is somewhat expected, and it gives you the exact same ending in the last two scenarios. Why not surprise the reader with either one surprise ending or two? But, by definition, if you give us he exact same scenario twice as your ending, you go out with a fizzle. Ending gets a 2 out of 5 stars.

In the end, the message of the book and the art are great, I just wish the ending could have delivered the 1,2 punch rather than a 1,1 punch.
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More About the Author

I write stories for children and adults. Picture books, middle-grade books, and novels. And a long time ago, personal essays.

I can be reached online at

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