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Children's LiteratureIn this odd and rather creepy original folk tale, a lonely young witch named Ella La Grimble has a series of strange creatures knocking at her door. First, when she answers the knock, "a pair of great big feet" comes in to stand by the fire. Next it is "a pair of teeny-weeny legs" that sit on the feet. Succeeding knocks announce strange-looking knees, hips, waist, shoulders, arms, hands, neck. Ella looks surprised each time her spinning is interrupted, but feels that none of her guests are "much company." When the "pumpkin-sized head" rolls in to top the neck, Ella nervously asks the reason for each body part. As he approaches, the now assembled creature seems to menace her. But it turns out that he has only come to keep her company, a sort of satisfying end to what could be a scary story. Double-page acrylic paintings with mixed media include the major characters, or their parts, but also a tiny mouse, a black cat, and a stray bug or two as well as some household objects to set the stage. Some frightening shadows also lurk. We empathize with Ella as she hides, wide-eyed, as the body parts get together. 2004, Henry Holt and Company, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz