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Fun Book

I’m happy to report that I’ve been getting a lot of writing done this month. I’m unhappy to report that I’ve been neglecting Perfect Picture Book Fridays. As Stephen King says, (paraphrasing here) if you don’t have time to be a reader, you don’t have time to be a writer. So I’m back this week with a fun story for the run-up to Halloween, a time when some of us enjoy being scared. And some of us…don’t.


Words by: Emily Jenkins

Pictures by: Hyewon Yum

Farrar Straus Giroux, 2015, fiction

For Ages: 3 and UP

Themes/Topics: fear, overcoming fear, scary stuff, monsters, the dark, evil, friendship, love, dogs

Opening lines:

Dad says I should make a list of everything that frightens me. He says it will help me be brave.

Summary (from publisher):

There are lots of frightening things out there. Witches. Trolls. Sharks. The DARK!

But nothing seems as scary once you turn on the light. In this hilarious picture book, a boy and his two dogs go through a list of all the things, both real and imagined, that make the hair on the backs of their necks stand on end―and come up with a clever way to face their fears.

Why I Like This Book:

As a kid, I had lots of fears. Some of them (sharks, the dark) made a lot of sense. Some of them (the open field, walking to piano lessons) didn’t.

A book like THE FUN BOOK OF SCARY STUFF, with its funny and big-hearted exchange between friends, would’ve helped. In this sweet and simple PB, a boy and his two winsome dogs talk about fears. With light-hearted humor and honesty, they tackle each fear in turn. And while they don’t exactly banish each fear, they do manage to make the fears feel less weighty and more manageable. This book also lets kids know that it’s totally okay to have fears and that talking through the fears, bringing them out into the light, can drain away some of their power over us.


(For an EXTENSIVE list of links to picture book reviews, along with resources, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s site: http://susannahill.com/for-teachers-and-parents/perfect-picture-books/.)