cover image Hist Whist

Hist Whist

E. E. Cummings. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $10.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-517-57360-0

Ray's haunting illustrations of cummings's Halloween poem is both trick and treat. ``Little ghostthings / tip-toe / twinkle-toe'' and ``hob-a-nob'' through the shadowy night. They ``rustle and run'' and ``hide hide hide'' on pages filled with darkling forms. ``Hist whist'' the reader is warned; ``look out for the old woman / with the wart on her nose . . . for she knows the devil.'' But all is not just what it seems. The warty witch and sharp-clawed devils grow increasingly scary, but children's fears will be allayed by the unmasking on the last page of costumed tricksters who wave devilish masks and grin like cherubs. Ray's eerie illustrations startle: witches and goblins scuttle through midnight blue and huddle round red-gold autumn bonfires with such vividness one can almost smell the burning leaves. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)