The Pine Barrens region in New Jersey has long been a place of mystery, with its dark pine groves, black swamps, and dank bogs, oftentimes shrouded in mist and fog. Reputed to be haunted by spirits, it’s an unsettling place to be sure. But of all the mysterious happenings and sights to be found in the Pine Barrens, there is none so intriguing as the Jersey Devil. Since its first reported sighting in 1735, local lore has it that a “devil-like” creature with the head of a horse, the wings of a bat, and the hooves of a goat has menaced townspeople, frightened livestock, and caused all manner of trouble over the years. Is the Jersey Devil real? Award-winning author Trinka Hakes Noble weaves a spellbinding tale about the origins of the legend of the Jersey Devil. Atmospheric illustrations by artist Gerald Kelley bring the tale to spooky life.
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The windows in the little cottages twinkled with light as the darkened sky sparkled with lightning bolts. Boom! Soon it would be time, time for Mother Leeds to give birth to her thirteenth child. It was 1835 and the British Crown still ruled over New Jersey, the place where the new baby would be born on that dark and stormy night. Essie Turnbuckle and Hattie Higbee were on their way to Mother Leeds’s, but they were frightened. “’Tis rumored she dabbles in witchcraft,” Essie exclaimed, “but we must help.” Halloween would soon be upon them, but a nightmarish creature would arrive even sooner. Mother Leeds began to howl, “Oh, let it be a devil!” The skies lit up with lighting once again and with “a clap of thunder, Mother Leeds’s thirteenth child was born ... but it was no ordinary child!” A hideous critter circled the room and escaped up the chimney. The prophecy had come true and a devil was among the people. The Jersey Devil sat in a tree overlooking the village as he “surveyed his new lair with its black swamps, dark woods, and murky bogs.” Ah, what kind of mischief lay in store for the villagers when the Jersey Devil would make himself known? This is an amazingly fun and spooky folklore tale of the infamous Jersey Devil that youngsters will love. This tale has just the right amount of spookiness to it without being scary. The stunning artwork carries with it a touch of humor with the caricatures of the Jersey Devil and those villagers he wants to scare. This folktale is of Native American origin and Trinka Hakes Noble gives it a nice breath of fresh air that young people will enjoy. If you need a new, fascinating folktale for your shelves just in time for Halloween, this is a good one. Quill says: This is a perfect tale to add to the folklore section in your library or classroom shelves!