A Not Scary Story about Big Scary Things
  • A Not Scary Story about Big Scary Things
  • A Not Scary Story about Big Scary Things

A Not Scary Story about Big Scary Things

3.0 5
by C. K. Williams, Gabi Swiatkowska
     
 

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A boy walks through a forest full of snakes and wolves and bears, but this boy isn't afraid because he knows they'll stay out of his way. The scary monster in this forest won't stay out of his way, though. He pops out at the boy and growls! But the brave boy just keeps walking along because he doesn't believe in monsters. This sets the monster to begging and

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Overview

A boy walks through a forest full of snakes and wolves and bears, but this boy isn't afraid because he knows they'll stay out of his way. The scary monster in this forest won't stay out of his way, though. He pops out at the boy and growls! But the brave boy just keeps walking along because he doesn't believe in monsters. This sets the monster to begging and begging for the boy to believe in him, even just a smidge. Will the boy ever agree?

This unusual monster story, with thrills and fangs and growls, shows that a little confidence and a lot of courage can shrink fears to a size that might even be a little cuddly.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A boy lives near a "regular, ordinary, standard sort of forest," except that along with the usual perils of cliffs, bears, snakes, and wolves, there's also an actual, awful monster with a penchant for scaring children. "That's what people said, anyway," writes Williams (How the Nobble Was Finally Found). But the boy isn't buying it--and his conviction proves to be a powerful defense when he finds himself standing eye to eye with the creature, who seems to live up to its horrible hype. "I'm sorry," the boy says politely, "but I can't believe in something that's not real." Nonplussed by this precocious rationality, the monster slowly shrinks, until it becomes nothing more than a fluffy kitty, suitable for adopting. It's hard to think of two artists better suited to one another. Sharing a surreal sense of logic and elegance, Williams and Swiatkowska convey a mood that's both dreamy and reassuringly matter-of-fact. Swiatkowska (The Earth Shook: A Persian Tale) is in particularly fine form, with wry drawings that range from florid to schematic, and clever collages that underscore the silliness of conventional wisdom. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Sharing a surreal sense of logic and elegance, Williams and Swiatkowska convey a mood that's both dreamy and reassuringly matter-of-fact. Swiatkowska (The Earth Shook: A Persian Tale) is in particularly fine form, with wry drawings that range from florid to schematic, and clever collages that underscore the silliness of conventional wisdom."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Children's Literature - Jennie DeGenaro
The little boy appears quite brave as he walks through the terrifying forest. He is the protagonist, but is only ever identified as "the little boy" or "the boy." He walks through the forest and does not run. He knows there is a terrifying wild animal, larger and more ferocious than all the rest roaming about, but he does not rush, nor does he appear frightened. The illustrations throughout are colorful and attention getting and are an integral part of the story. The author leads the reader through the story and fulfills the theme of the story about how fright is often unnecessary. The boy's mother is patiently waiting for him. It is obvious why both author and illustrator won honors for their work. At the end of the story, the terrifying monster fulfills the title's promise. Fearful children will especially appreciate this story. The ferocious monster wants the little boy to be afraid of him. The monster asks the little boy not to leave him alone in the forest. The ending involves the mother which makes for a pleasant way to finish the story for such little children. Reviewer: Jennie DeGenaro
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—A boy dressed in an early-20th-century Peter Pan collar, red sweater, emerald-green britches, and patent leather shoes is venturing into a forest with the known dangers of wolves, bears, and snakes, and the unknown dangers of a monster. Williams wastes little time setting up the conflict, adding no superfluous details. Rather, the story is propelled along by the rational voice of the boy, who uses his knowledge of the world to abate his fears. Yet his knowledge of the monster is incomplete. It is said to eat children. How does the boy confront that fear? He does nothing. The trees are sprouting claws and he keeps on walking. The monster is a quilt of parts—teeth, tail, fangs—alluding to the bits and pieces of hearsay and punctuated by gnarly and angular fonts. The illustrations, steeped in a gothic sensibility, recall imaginary bestiaries and are offbeat, crowded, but painterly, featuring various water-based paints, including gouache, and collage of bits of wallpaper and doll faces. In one, the boy measures himself against the diminished monster in a scientific drawing. Finally, he tells the creature outright that he doesn't believe in him, nearly obliterating him (displaying the control he has over his imagination and the danger of nullifying it). Young readers who have imagined a tree a menacing ghost of myriad arms will grasp this story of a boy braving the growls of the forest, but might be disappointed with the conciliatory ending.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152054663
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/06/2010
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

C. K. WILLIAMS (1936-2015) was an acclaimed poet and the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. In addition to his many collections of poetry, he wrote two picture books for young readers: How the Nobble Was Finally Found , illustrated by Stephen Gammell, and A Not Scary Story about Big Scary Things , illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowski.


Gabi Swiatkowska, a winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, has illustrated many beautiful books for children, including My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits . She lives in France.


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