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Little Bit Scary People

Little Bit Scary People

by Emily Jenkins, Alexandra Boiger (Illustrator)
Some people are a little bit STRANGE or a little too LOUD, and justa little bit SCARY.But I bet, if you knew them,and knew their favorite things,you'd think that maybe, (probably) most people aren't so scary after all.


Some people are a little bit STRANGE or a little too LOUD, and justa little bit SCARY.But I bet, if you knew them,and knew their favorite things,you'd think that maybe, (probably) most people aren't so scary after all.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Jenkins (Toys Go Out) and Boiger (While Mama Had a Quick Little Chat) offer a way to assuage worried children in this smart and sympathetic book. First to be described as "a little bit scary" is "the boy with thick eyebrows [who] rides his skateboard on the sidewalk and cranks the radio so loud, my dad yells out the window for him to turn it down." Boiger endows him with a Mohawk and studded leather boots; the bottom of his skateboard has a skull on it. Turn the page, however, and the narrator envisions an entirely different scenario: "I bet when he wakes up in the morning, he kisses his cat on the head and scratches her neck until she purrs." The redheaded heroine sits atop a dresser in this imaginary bedroom, which houses the would-be miscreant's scary regalia along with a pair of slippers just like the narrator's own. Continuing her rogues' gallery, the girl ends by imagining how her own family members might appear scary to others. Funny and wise. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)

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Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Let's face it: Young children are often intimated by adults and their first impression may be that big people can be a tad scary. Here, a little redheaded girl speaks of the anxiety she feels about the people she encounters. There is the boy on the skateboard with a Mohawk and loud radio; her principal, arms folded across her chest, who always wants to see her hall pass; the cafeteria lady who wears rubber gloves and never lets you have more than one milk; and the teenage girl with the leather jacket and spiky ankle bracelet who likes to kick trash cans. They are all a little bit scary. Then, our hero thinks that if she knew them better she might learn something new that would make them seem less scary. Perhaps the skateboarder wakes up in the morning and gently scratches his cat's head, the principal takes dancing lessons and really knows how to cut loose, the cafeteria lady jogs to cool tunes on her headphones, and the scary teen, plays football with her little brother and sister� and lets them win. How does the redheaded girl know? The last person is her sister. Comical watercolors and line drawings bring to life this delightful tale that balances anxiety with reassurance. Each turn of the page brings a new perspective of a previously "scary" person. Exaggerated features and humorous details render the scary, loud, mean, intimidating people quite harmless. Ideal for sharing with shy children who have difficulty adjusting to new people and situations. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Emily Jenkins has a quite wonderful gift for doing concept books in a way that really opens a concept and dwells on possibilities. Her Five Creatures opens ways for children to recognize that someone or something that looks a "little bit scary" might be seen much less threatening if you took a different perspective—for example, the male nurse who wipes a child's scraped knee is both a little bit scary and someone who plays with his children. This book offers a wide range of people a child might find "a little bit scary" but on further consideration can see is not really all that scary at all. Boiger's illustrations move smoothly from threatening at first glance to reassuring on reconsideration. One of the great strengths of this book is that while it offers a different perspective, it also recognizes that there is no single way to look at what makes something scary—and if a child can recognize that, she can face her own fears. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

A shy girl confronts her fear of the many individuals who make her uncomfortable; for example: the school lunch woman who demands that each child take just one milk, the punked-out skateboarder with a loud boom box, and the school principal whose imposing figure looms large in the hallway. On one page, the child is depicted in a situation with the person who makes her apprehensive (such as the school nurse who is "a little bit scary"); but the flip of a page shows the youngster using her imagination, recasting the individual in a homey or less-threatening environment. She begins using the expression, "But I bet..." to imagine the nurse making music with his children, the principal dancing with her boyfriend, and the skateboarder who "kisses his cat on the head and scratches her neck until she purrs...." This could be a terrific book to begin a discussion about identity and forming opinions about others. It also offers students a way to feel empowered as they meet the demands of widening their world. Although most of the cartoonlike illustrations are lovely, one is an unfortunate disappointment: it depicts a black male with exaggerated facial features. Since proper racial representation is critical for children, the picture sadly mars this offering.-Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA

Kirkus Reviews
A little red-haired girl observes that many of the people in her neighborhood and school seem a "little bit scary." There's the big boy on the skateboard who plays loud music, the bus driver who demands exact change, the imposing school principal with the long fingernails and the wacky music teacher who picks on kids who can't sing in tune. But are they actually scary? That cafeteria lady who limits kids to one milk probably jogs after school, singing out loud to show tunes on her headphones, and the school nurse who applies stinging lotion must play the piano as his kids "pile on his lap and pull on his ears" after work. The little girl realistically concludes that in their private lives and once you get to know them, these people probably aren't scary at all. Boiger's humorous watercolor-and-line illustrations capture the potentially scary characters from a variety of visual perspectives that reinforce the message that there's more than one way to see things. An amusing reality check for the easily intimidated. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Hyperion Books for Children
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
11.22(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

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