'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 3 August 2013

Review: A Book about Scary

We’ve all read ABC books with our children. Some are beautiful, some are educational, some are bright and colourful and now, some are scary.

A Book about Scary is the brilliant creation of author Danny Katz and illustrator Mitch Vane. This wonderful picture book takes children through an A-Z of scary things and the results are far more humorous than the title might imply.

So what kinds of things are included in this alphabetised list of scary? There are the usual suspects: alien zombies, hammerhead sharks and snakes (although not jelly snakes, of course). There are dogs and clowns and needles. And knees. Knees?

So, maybe this book isn’t all about Scary after all. Maybe it’s about realising that some of the things that we might think are scary aren’t so bad. With a combination of wonderful illustrations and a quirky collection of potentially scary things, A Book about Scary gives children the opportunity to talk about the things that frighten them, and others, and realise that some of these things can actually be quite funny if you look at them the right way.

A Book about Scary is the most enjoyable alphabet book I’ve read for some time. As always, I was keen to see what options were provided for the ‘tricky’ letters, such as J, Q, U and X (you’ll have to get a copy of the book to find out for yourself, but I can assure you that the answer for X bothered me quite a bit as a child too). I love that some letters simply have a word and illustration, while others, such as clowns, escalators and moths, have a little more detail that helps children find the humour underneath the potential fear.

The element of humour is present throughout the book and helps to keep this discussion of all things scary light-hearted and non-confrontational for children.

This is the perfect book to read with young children to spark a discussion about what might frighten them and how they can deal with it. Make sure you look at the front and rear end papers as well – there is room for children to add a drawing of what scares them and a reassuring reminder that everyone is scared of something.

Title: A Book about Scary
Author: Danny Katz
Illustrator: Mitch Vane
Publisher: Five Mile Press, $14.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 June 2013
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781743460443
For ages: 3 - 7
Type: Picture Book