Tuesday, November 12, 2013

30 Days of Picture Books - Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds

It's Day 5 of our 30 Days of Picture Books. We hope you've been enjoying the titles we've shared so far, and that you're as excited to see more as we are thrilled to be sharing them!

Today's pick could arguably be considered a Halloween book, and certainly is good for the times when you want to add a little thrill to storytime. I'm very glad we happened upon this title, because honestly it's not one that I probably would have picked out for us to read. Sprout tends to be a little hesitant with anything spooky or scary, so I would likely have passed this by. But when Aaron Reynolds' Creepy Carrots arrived in a box of other bookish goodies, Sprout seized on it. I read it to him, not really sure what to expect, and he ADORED it, right from the get-go. Lesson learned: offer more varied reading selections, you never know what the kiddo will like.

The story of Creepy Carrots touches on themes that run throughout kidlit, like being the only one to see a phenomenon and having to take things into your own hands to solve a problem. Jasper Rabbit is a carrot-loving guy, as you might expect from a bunny. His favorite carrots are the ones growing wild in Crackenhopper Field, and Jasper just can't get enough, hitting the place up for treats morning, noon and night. But then one day Jasper experiences something unusual: he thinks he sees a trio of creepy carrots following him. Try as he might, Jasper can't catch the carrots in the act, and no one believes him of course. Finally at the end of his rope, Jasper takes some extreme measures. But who's really taking care of who?

Oh my word, this book is fantastic. The sly humor Reynolds employs grows on you the more you read it, the the pictures are knock-down amazing. (It won a Caldecott Honor for Peter Brown's illustrations.) My husband especially loves the way the spreads are a nod to cinema classics, with a Vertigo feel to one picture that is just terrific. The way Brown chooses to have his carrots stand out as the lone bursts of color against the black-and-white landscape is genius. Kids may not be able to put their fingers on what this makes this such a tasty visual tidbit, but adults will appreciate every bit. And the humor's a winner with all ages -- just don't be surprised if you start looking behind yourself to catch some creepy carrots!

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, published by Simon and Schuster

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