Saturday, April 25, 2009

"Knowing you're going to grow up to be a grownup is scary" -FPHeide

There are more than just a few things about this book that make it so darn charming. The collaboration of Heide and Feiffer presents not only the frightful scenarios of the runaway imagination ( "Thinking about a big bird with big teeth who might swoop down and carry you away is scary"), it captures the anxieties that take hold of children and adults alike ("Finding out your best friend has a best friend who isn't you is scary"). This book is a list really, not a story, and it is a wonderful way to address fears and doubts with an audience of children.

The immediacy and emotion in Feiffer's comical, exaggerated illustrations perfectly complement the text. The humor that surrounds both the absurd and the very real frights make all of them easier to talk about. The right hand side of this double page spread shows a little boy-tiny, wide-eyed, arms folded- waiting nervously at the far end of a playing field. Shadows of the members of two teams loom large in the foreground and a grassy expanse of negative space separates the boy from the groups....." Thinking you're not going to be picked for either side is scary". Feiffer illustrates that pit-of-your-stomach dread perfectly with a little pen and ink and a watercolor wash and it is just silly enough. This book is a great choice for the first day with students in a new class or really anytime you want to open up a discussion about what is frightening or worrisome, because some things are scary, but much less so when you can laugh about them.

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