Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Bailey, Mary Bryant. 2003. JEOFFRY’S HALLOWEEN. Ill. by Elizabeth Sayles. New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux. ISBN 0374336776 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]
SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
Jeoffry the cat prowls the fields, woods, and neighborhood streets on what begins as a normal fall evening. But as the night grows darker, the air grows spookier, and he discovers there are witches and goblins about. At first he follows them on their adventure, but as they soon discover the scary haunts all around them, Jeoffry leads them back to the safety of their homes. Along the way, flying squirrels, fireflies, and scarecrows appear as eerie diversions, but turn out to be harmless after all.
Although written for Halloween, Bailey’s verse effectively sets a mysterious mood for any ghostly story time. A hushed voice is in order when reading this book aloud. “The hound’s howl calls me through the haze/ to the garden, where pumpkins blaze.” Sayles’s smoky pastels steep the rhyme in fog and mist, enticing readers with an excellent blend of illustration and text. A glossary of unfamiliar terms, such as “bog,” “lichen,” and “tupelo” is included, and the new vocabulary does not distract, but rather, enhances the tone of the story.
Read this book aloud by candlelight or firelight, or under the covers with a flashlight to enhance the eerie rhyme.
Use this story instead of ghost stories around a campfire for children who frighten easily. Despite its spooky nature, the story is reassuring because all the scary things turn out to be normal.
Other Halloween books that are spooky, but not too frightful:
Bunting, Eve. SCARY, SCARY HALLOWEEN. ISBN 0833527223
Teague, Mark. ONE HALLOWEEN NIGHT. ISBN 0590846256
Williams, Linda. THE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO WAS NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING. ISBN 0690045840
Other books by Mary Bryant Bailey about Jeoffry:
JEOFFRY’S CHRISTMAS. ISBN 0374336768
By Amy D. Picard