Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Farmer Brown hates Halloween? Just wait.....

         "You cannot open a book without learning something."

Title:  Click, Clack, Boo!  A Tricky Treat
Author:  Doreen Cronin
Illustrator:  Betsy Lewin

Who doesn't like Halloween?  Well apparently Farmer Brown doesn't.  He is scared silly of that spooky night.  "Witches give him nightmares.  Pirates give him shivers."  His remedy for Halloweenitis?  He puts on his footed pajamas, draws the shades down low, locks the door securely and goes to bed.  But he is not all that disengaged entirely from the rituals because before he settles down to sleep he puts a big bowl of candy on his front porch but then posts a "Do Not Disturb" sign on his front door.

Farmer Brown begins to hear creaks, crunches and all sorts of crazy sounds outside his house. He can't stand not knowing what is making those noises so he gets up to take a peek out of his window to see what is happening.  He discovers that the whole bowl of candy he placed there is gone and a poster has been nailed to his door that reads: "Halloween Party in the barn."  He can make out a huge shadowy image with a cape and an orange beak coming closer shouting, "Quack, quack, quackle."  Alarmed he runs and dives into his bed pulling the covers over his head.

His barnyard friends however have a very different idea about how the night should be orchestrated.  A cow dresses up as a skeleton,  the sheep sport witches's hats, the cat has on batwings and the chickens look mighty ghostly.  They are out to party Halloween night away in the barn and everyone is invited, especially  Farmer Brown.   He cannot stand it any longer and he gets up to go and see what all the Halloween fuss is about.  When he gets to the party he finds there are a lot of surprises in store for him and he, Farmer Brown himself, is the centre of attention.

This book is not scary at all,  but very funny. The illustrations with their saturated watercolours are vibrant, friendly and brilliant.  Lewin's moonlit colour pallet add just the right touch to create a mood of spookiness to the night.  Cronin uses onomatopoeia and repetition to generate an eerie feeling. It is the perfect read aloud for this wonderful Halloween season.

About the author:

Doreen Cronin was a practicing attorney in Manhattan when her first book Click, Clack Moo: Cows That Typebecame a publishing success. But her book was not published overnight, in fact, she had written this barnyard tale even before attending law school but only received rejection letters from publishers. Five years after submitting the original manuscript she got a call from a publisher who wanted to turn her story into a book and the rest is history!
The busy life of a writer left no room for courtroom litigation and arbitration so Doreen made the leap to being a full-time children’s book author. She then teamed up once again with illustrator Betsy Lewin to write another hilarious barnyard tale, Giggle, Giggle, Quack, that continues the escapades of these lovable animals on a farm.
In Doreen’s latest book, Diary of a Worm, she explores the daily life of a lovable worm. Who knew that the underground dwellings and activities of worms could be so funny. Readers may even find that worm’s life is much the same as theirs except worm eats his homework and his head looks a whole lot like his rear!
Doreen was born in Queens and grew up in Long Island. She graduated from Pennsylvannia State University and St. John’s University School of Law. She currently resides in New York with her husband and dog “Ruffie.”

About the illustrator:

  • Betsy Reilly Lewin is an American illustrator from Clearfield, Pennsylvania. She studied illustration at Pratt Institute. After graduation, she began designing business cards. Wikipedia
  • AwardsCaldecott MedalBook Sense Book of the Year Award: Children's Illustrated

    Book Review Rating:   8  (Fantastic!)

    Read on and read always!  Have a great day.

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