EEK! CREAK! SNICKER, SNEAK

Rhonda Gowler Greene, Author, Joseph A. Smith, Illustrator, Jos A. Smith, Illustrator , illus. by Jos. A. Smith. S&S/Atheneum $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-83047-1

What—or, rather, who—makes all that noise outside that torments kids at bedtime? Parents, of course, will always look for a logical explanation: "It's just a truck, a clackity train,/ a thunderstorm, the zooooom of a plane." But Greene (Barnyard Song) and Smith (A Creepy Countdown) step inside the imaginations of children and propose that such noises are the work of two creatures: Bugbear, who brings to mind Charles Addams's Uncle Fester; and Bugaboo, a green, ghoulish, plush-toy-like critter. Bugbear "loves to frighten you and me/ with eeeks and cr-r-reaks and big bad h-ow-owls/ and tiny squeaks and catlike yee-ow-owls!" while Bugaboo's " 'wooooo' will chill your spine" (all the onomatopoeia gets a further comic nudge from spooky typography). The hobgoblin duo very nearly succeeds in terrorizing the children of one representative household. Smith's watercolor-and-ink vignettes knowlingly depict the boy and girl in several tried-and-true cowering positions (hiding under the bed, pulling covers over their heads, etc.). But the kids finally triumph by turning the tables: with "a horrible "Boo!!!" they send Bugbear and Bugaboo scampering. Delivered in a funny way, the message has the authority of FDR: the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 12/03/2001
Release date: 03/01/2002
Genre: Children's
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