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SCARED STIFF by Katie Davis


by Katie Davis & illustrated by Katie Davis

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-15-202305-4
Publisher: Harcourt

Davis’s (Who Hoots?, not reviewed, etc.) story has a bad case of the fidgets, which won’t go far in curing any youngster’s willies, but if nothing else, maybe the ants it drops in the pants of its readers will take their mind off their groundless fears. A little girl is scared stiff of the neighborhood dog (“There’s Ono. That’s not his real name. I call him that because every time I see him I say, ‘Oh, no!’ ”), and the creepy monsters in the hedge, and the snakes slithering out from under the door of her closet. Stopgap measures are all she has devised to handle these fears—bolting from the dog, singing a silly song for the monsters, never opening the closet door—until she decides to become a witch, “because witches aren’t afraid of anything.” She cackles, but that’s not enough; she holds her breath until she turns blue (then she remembers witches are green); she puts on long fingernails, but they fall off. She says the magic word—“Please”—and she feels different (though why is a mystery). She confronts the closet: “ ‘Oh, yeah!’ I remembered. ‘I’m a fearless witch!’ ” The snakes turn out to be shoelaces; the monsters turn out to be bushes; the dog is a big cuddlehead. Presto, fears-aren’t-us. Believe that and there’s a bridge you might want to buy. Zany perspectives, asides in balloons, images bleeding out of their frames, colors electric enough to make your teeth sing—but a story line with enough holes in it to drain spaghetti. (Picture book. 2-5)