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JITTERBUG JAM by Barbara Jean Hicks Kirkus Star


by Barbara Jean Hicks & illustrated by Alexis Deacon

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: March 11th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-33685-7
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

“Not going to bed. Now nor never.” Sure that there’s a scary boy lurking beneath his bed, little monster Bobo hides in a cupboard, until a story from comfortingly massive Boo-Dad, about how he once met a (shudder) girl, teases him out. Hicks gives the tale a fluent country cadence, folding in colorful turns of phrase while dropping the occasional auxiliary or “be” verb, and in a style that echoes Barbara McClintock’s neoclassicism, Deacon depicts a family of droopy-horned, not very frightening monsters in a cozy, familiar domestic setting. When Bobo actually does find a red-headed lad beneath the bed—visiting from the other side of the closet—rather than curl up in terror, he takes Boo-Dad’s advice to grin and make friendly overtures. In no time, the two young ’uns are chatting companionably. Far and away the best reversal of Mercer Mayer’s elemental There’s a Monster in My Closet premise since Robert L. Crowe’s Clyde Monster (1976), and Jeanne Willis’s Monster Bed (1986), this will have younger readers, timorous or otherwise, flocking to it “quick as lickety-split ’n’ spit-fish.” (Picture book. 5-8)