Thursday, February 7, 2019

Winter Reading 2019 The Cyclops Witch and the Heebie-Jeebies

Have any readers who love spooky characters, but don't want a really scary story? Young readers who are always asking for stories with cryptids or legendary creatures? Try the Cyclops Witch with them. This is a brave witch who isn't frightened by much. But one night something comes to her door that makes her "shiver, quiver, and twitch." (I love how those words are shadowed on the page so that they really seem to be quivering.) It seems that although winged monkeys and ice trolls might not scare her, she is very afraid of ... kids!

So she comes up with a plan to frighten the children away, using all the fearsome creatures that live nearby. When her plan doesn't work out quite as she expects, the Cyclops Witch may need courage to face this troop of scouts that have found her.

It turns out that once you overcome your own fear, you might just be able to help others overcome theirs. As the kids explain, "While not all fears are bad, some can get out of hand - sometimes we're just scared because we misunderstand." That's a good lesson for all of us.

The illustrations are vibrant and full of creatures like the mothman, leprechauns, pumpkin heads, and sea monsters. The children are a mix of genders and ethnic backgrounds. The witch also has a raven friend named Lenore who always notices when someone comes tapping at the door.

Besides satisfying the craving for "monsters" without being a scary book, the story also does a good job of showing that sometimes fears are unfounded or blown out of proportion. Good for elementary readers.

I read an ARC provided by the publisher. Publication is scheduled for April 9.

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