________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 13 . . . . November 28, 2014


Little Boo.

Stephen Wunderli. Illustrated by Tim Zeltner.
New York, NY: Henry Holt & Co. (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 2014.
32 pp., hardcover & e-book, $18.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-8050-9708-5 (hc.), ISBN 978-0-8050-9709-2 (e-book).

Subject Headings:

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Jill Griffith.

**** /4



The wind blew, the leaves fell,
And a tiny seed hid in the garden.

So begins the tale of a pumpkin seed that wants to be scary. He tries and tries and tries to scare leaves and grubs and snowflakes, but only when he has his winter sleep, is warmed by the summer sun, and grows into something orange and round, does he succeed in scaring cats and goblins and witches.

internal art      As the reader of this review has likely gleaned, this is a story that ultimately works well for Halloween, but it is also one that can be used to talk about fall, growing plants, weather and life cycles. The story teaches children the value of patience, and, as author Stephen Wunderli tells his readers in his dedication, "one day you will be more than you can imagine." At no time, though, does the story come across as overly didactic. Little Boo also works well as a guessing story for children - they can guess what kind of a seed Little Boo is, they can guess what happens next when he becomes a plant, and they can ultimately guess what Little Boo will become at the end of the story. There are clues throughout, particularly the repetitive device from which he gets his name, "Boo!"

      The story is wonderful, but Tim Zeltner's illustrations are the star of this book, progressing from gentle nature pictures to my favourite final ones that evoke spooky feelings of Halloween - the reader actually feels a chill in the air (Mr. Zeltner's favourite holiday is Halloween)! The wind is a predominant character in Little Boo, and the illustrator has captured the look and feeling of the wind, moving the reader from beginning to end. The landscape also looms largely as a character. Zeltner's artwork featuring layered paint, glazes and stains on wood in contrasting earth tones of greens and browns and oranges - the colours of fall. Everything is in motion, even the text - darkness crept, the light flew, the flowers fell away and the leaf rolls by, evoking the passing of the seasons as the seed grows.

      A well-written, beautifully illustrated story to be read again and again.

Highly Recommended.

Jill Griffith is the Youth Services Manager at Red Deer Public Library in Red Deer, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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