In this good-humored picture book, a parent pounces on a child's fear of the things that go bump in the night and transforms it into a game. The narrator, in verse, banteringly dismisses the existence of ghosts, then adds ``the werewolves' bay-- / AIYAAA . . . / would scare a ghost away!'' At which point all dread of ghosts cedes to a sudden terror of werewolves (``Did you say werewolves?''). Each new apparition is quickly supplanted by another, even more frightening entity. The rhyme hurtles along, full of glee, punctuated by the child's loud shouts of dread-filled surprise. But it is obvious that the child is now delighted by each arrival, egging on the adult for the next in the gallery of ghouls. Oversize watercolors, which combine an effective mix of somber grays and splashes of bright paint, are both eerie and exotic, and convey--spiritedly--the giddy intrigue of the text. Ages 6-up. (Sept.)
In a delightfully creepy cumulative tale, an unseen duo discusses the possibilities of fright in the night. "There aren't any ghosts in sight. It's all in your imagination," one admonishes. "GHOSTS! DID YOU SAY GHOSTS?" replies the other. The first speaker says there are no ghosts, and even if there were, they would be run off by the werewolves. "WEREWOLVES! DID YOU SAY WEREWOLVES?" And on it goes with giants scaring away the werewolves, demons frightening the giants, and witches tormenting the demons, much to the terror of the second speaker. Illustrating these musings are the monsters themselves, and Baskin's watercolors do not portray cartoonlike wild things. These vampires, ghouls, and ghosts--a single subject to a spread--look like they have just made a one-way trip from hell with their power intact. Some little ones may be blase about all these bump-in-the-nighters, but others will probably emit a shriek or two. Although this would make good story-hour fare, use it with slightly older kids or know your audience.