Knock! Knock!

Overview

A perfect spooky read-aloud for any time of year

A long time ago, in Scotland, a little witch named Ella La Grimble sat alone at her spinning wheel when she heard a KNOCK! KNOCK! at her door.

Who could be coming to the door at this time of night? Who, or what, is waiting outside, and why have they come . . . ?

A little witch sitting alone at her spinning wheel ...

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Overview

A perfect spooky read-aloud for any time of year

A long time ago, in Scotland, a little witch named Ella La Grimble sat alone at her spinning wheel when she heard a KNOCK! KNOCK! at her door.

Who could be coming to the door at this time of night? Who, or what, is waiting outside, and why have they come . . . ?

A little witch sitting alone at her spinning wheel hears a knock at her door, but the various body parts that enter are not much company.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In 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
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Set "a long time ago in Scotland" in a rustic cottage on a grassy hill at nighttime, this tale features a sweet redheaded young witch named Ella who sits at her spinning wheel, wishing for company. Succeeding pages open with the words, "Knock! Knock!" in large, colorful letters. Through the door walk a pair of enormous feet, then two spindly legs in argyle socks, big hairy knees-etc. The body parts, which gradually assemble themselves into a giant, are gruesome enough to provide a tingle or two up readers' spines. Ella timidly asks: "Why do you have such teeny-weeny legs?" "To hold up my tough hard knees." "Why do you have such a pumpkin-sized head?" "Big brain, witch! Big brain." Peering from behind a curtain, Ella brings this interplay to a climax: "And what do all of you come here for?" Her visitor's answer is both thrilling and satisfying, bringing the story to a fine finish. Wahl's recasting of the traditional tale "The Strange Visitor" may also remind some youngsters of Jane O'Connor's The Teeny Tiny Woman (Random, 1986) and other cumulative stories. Knock! Knock! makes an excellent read-aloud because of its repetitive text and suspenseful tone. Done in acrylic paint and mixed media, the illustrations are filled with creepy details and atmospheric shadows. This picture book will be frightfully successful on Halloween and all year round.-Susan Weitz, Spencer-Van Etten Schools, Spencer, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This take on a traditional tale promises a surprise ending but does not deliver "gotcha" that readers will expect. Witch Ella La Grimble sits at her spinning wheel wishing for company when there comes a knock knock at the door. First, great big feet arrive. "But feet are not much company." Then, with more knocks, "teeny weeny legs," "huge fat hips," an "itty bitty waist" . . . all parts of a giant's body (clad in a kilt so his hairy knees show) arrive and take their proper places. But, "a waist is not much company. . . . Shoulders are not much company." Finally there's a menacing and threatening person in place, but why has he come? "For YOU, witch, for you . . . to keep you company!" Watercolors portray the giant that has come as hairy and strange as one might picture, but it's Ella, with her curly red hair, and the final picture of the giant in fuzzy pink slippers that will charm readers. And the twist will make them laugh at least once. The illustrations, with their exaggerated perspectives and spooky shadows, seal the deal. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805062809
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 8/1/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.76 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Jan Wahl is the author of more than one hundred books for children, including Humphrey's Bear, which won the Christopher Award and the Redbook Children's Picture Book Award. He lives in Toledo, Ohio.

Mary Newell DePalma is the author and illustrator of The Strange Egg, and the illustrator of several other books for children. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband and their two children.

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