Can a picture book inspired by “The House that Jack Built” do anything new? Storyteller de las Casas gives it her all in converting one of her favorite stories to the printed page.
Pairing sound effects or movements to each introduced line of text results in a lively, interactive experience that begs any audience to join the fun. Beginning with “This is the house (creak, creak) / That Witchy built (clap, clap, clap, clap),” it will soon have readers meowing with a cat, flapping with the bat, booing with a ghost and rattling like a skeleton. It all makes sense until the pumpkin rolls in and the parentheses prompt a “(yum, yum),” but readers will cruise right along anyway. A boy is introduced with “(yuck, yuck)” because he is picking his nose, poor mom wags her finger as she says “(no, no)” and dad plants a “(smooch, smooch)” on mom. The finale “…is the / witch (cackle, cackle) / That spooked / them all / (cackle, cackle).” The collage illustrations are truly impressive. Stone-Barker manipulates various papers to create palpable textures for the house’s roof, swishy broom, furry cat and transparent ghost. One quibble—on several pages there are headstones with clever epitaphs, but the same ones are repeated, losing an opportunity to inject further humor into the romp. That aside, Witchy definitely rocks this house!
Use to get the (Halloween) party started. (Picture book. 3-6)