Can't Scare Me!: with audio recording

Can't Scare Me!: with audio recording

by Ashley Bryan

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From celebrated legend Ashley Bryan, a lavishly depicted cautionary tale of fearlessness and many-headed monsters.

There was a little boy who knew no fear...

Nope, no fear at all. Not even when his grandma warns him of the giants—the two-headed giant and his three-headed brother, that is. Because this wild, fearless boy isn’t


From celebrated legend Ashley Bryan, a lavishly depicted cautionary tale of fearlessness and many-headed monsters.

There was a little boy who knew no fear...

Nope, no fear at all. Not even when his grandma warns him of the giants—the two-headed giant and his three-headed brother, that is. Because this wild, fearless boy isn’t scared of any many-headed giants at all!

So one day, he slips away. He just takes off and leaves his grandma behind. After all, what does he care? He’s got his mangoes, and the sunshine, and his flute. And he isn’t scared one bit.

But our boy isn’t really bad, you know; just wild. And soon he misses his grandma. So he turns around, and runs right into—those monsters. He’s about to discover that he may indeed have something to fear…their terrible, horrible singing voices!

This trickster tale from the French Artilles will have readers toe-tapping and trying out their own singing voices.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—With his inimitable style and distinctive folk-art illustrations, Bryan tells a trickster tale from the French and English Antilles about a wild and fearless boy who doesn't flinch even when his grandma tells him stories of giants with two and three heads. He plays his flute ("Too-de-loo-de-loo-de-loot!") and sings: "Tanto, tanto, I'm wild and I'm free./Grandma's stories can't scare me./I'm bold! I'm brave! And though I may be small,/No many-headed giant scares ME at all!" However, encounters with both the two-headed and three-headed brothers in the jungle scare him a little, and when safely back at his Grandma's home he promises to behave: "Dear Grandma, now that I know FEAR,/I will be good, don't worry./If only you would tell me soon…/FOUR-HEADED GIANT'S STORY!" The lilting, loosely rhymed text reads well aloud, and the tempera and watercolor, brightly hued illustrations flood the pages with color and action. The stylized giants are not too scary and the book could be used successfully in storytimes with children's participation.—Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Publishers Weekly
In Bryan’s folktale-style story, a boy is certain he’s above the rules, but he doesn’t suffer the usual comeuppance. Instead, he makes fools out of his enemies and earns his grandmother’s admiration. “Tanto, tanto, I’m wild and I’m free./ Grandma’s stories can’t scare me,” he crows, slipping away from his mother despite Grandma’s warnings about a two-headed giant and his three-headed brother. The tune the boy plays on his flute emboldens him further, and Bryan repeats it often (“Too-de-loo-de-loo-de-loot!”) as narrative punctuation. The boy stays calm when the three-headed giant catches him in a sack and tells his cook to fatten him up. Sure enough, the child’s flute and quick thinking are enough to outwit his captors. It’s the giant’s screechingly bad rendition of the boy’s tune that truly scares him: “His singing voice was worse/ Than any threat to eat him.” Bryan’s paintings have the warmth and substance of Diego Rivera murals, while the giants vibrate in phantasmagoric shades of magenta and lime. There’s never any doubt that the boy will prevail, and there’s something classically Homeric about his exploits. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Elisabeth Greenberg
Employing elements of poetry and rhythm, this engaging tale of a “willful, thrillful child” who thought he was “so big, so tough, though only half past seven” will capture the attention of foolhardy and shy alike. When his parents give up on him, Grandma takes over with tales of giants that fire the young boy’s imagination, and his determination to never be scared! Off they go to work in the fields the next morning, but the boy slips away and plays his flute all day…and then meets the two-headed giant. And then the three-headed giant! Wow! That giant loves the flute, and entices the boy from his toe to his knee to his chest as the boy plays and sings louder and louder “No many-headed giant scares me at all!” Alas, he ends up in the giant’s sack and there has to listen to the giant’s terrible singing. The cook Janey is supposed to fatten up the boy for the giant’s dinner, but instead she asks to listen to the flute once more. They dance and dance until the boy slips right out the door and, after a great chase, back to his Grandma’s arms. Bryan’s colorful illustrations invite the young reader into a tropical island world while the plethora of folktale motifs keeps interest high. This is a wonderful book to read with young children who will soon catch on to the refrains and rhymes and will eagerly “read along” with the storyteller. Reviewer: Elisabeth Greenberg AGERANGE: Ages 4 to 8.
Kirkus Reviews
It's Anansi. It's Coyote. No, it's a boy wonder who knows no fear. Despite his diminutive size, this young, brown-skinned protagonist boasts of fearing nothing, even when his grandmother tells him that the two-headed giant and his three-headed brother catch and eat little boys who wander home after dark. When the three-headed giant does catch and prepare to eat the boy, only his musical prowess saves him from an untimely death in the giant's kitchen. The boy's refrain, "Tanto, tanto, I'm wild and I'm free. / Grandma's stories can't scare me," makes this tale imminently tellable, and his musical tune, "Too-de-loo-de-loo-de-loot!" makes it singable as well. Bryan's characteristically colorful and rustic paintings portray the contrast between the small boy and the massive giants well, making the boy's humility all the more amazing when he returns to the lap of his grandmother a wiser and more humble boy. Though some of Bryan's rhymes are forced and the giants seem more goofy than scary, the compelling plot and vibrant illustrations will keep readers entertained. This musical trickster breathes new life into an old tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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File size:
32 MB
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Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Ashley Bryan grew up to the sound of his mother singing from morning to night, and he has shared the joy of song with children ever since. A beloved illustrator, he has been the recipient of the Coretta Scott King—Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award; he has also been a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer, a Coretta Scott King Award winner, and the recipient of countless other awards and recognitions. His books include Sail Away; Beautiful Blackbird; Beat the Story-Drum, Pum Pum; Let It Shine; Ashley Bryan’s Book of Puppets; and What a Wonderful World. He lives in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine.

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