Popular Scaredy Squirrel sports fangs as he beams from the cover of this “Safety Guide for Scaredies.”
Following the format of his previous safety guide (Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas, 2012), a preface warns that “Halloween is creeping up quickly, and it’s time to gather the courage to face the ghoulish festivities!” Eight brief chapters follow, offering over-the-top advice on decorations, costumes, trick-or-treating, candy and party planning. Of course, “if all else fails…play dead.” The mix of diagrams (how to make it through a haunted house as quickly as possible), charts (scariness factor of costumes), lists (“unscary black items to decorate with” include Black Forest cakes and bowling balls) and step-by-step instructions (how to carve a friendly-faced pumpkin) offer kids new ways of reading information. Good tips (inspecting candy before eating it) and comically bad (play gloomy organ music to slow the tempo of a party) intermingle and are delivered with the same earnest tone by the always-cautious, comically overprepared and endearing squirrel. Watt certainly has hit on a formula that provides readers with a familiar but guaranteed-to-be-hilarious experience.
Although fans of Scaredy’s hypercontrolled world will eagerly devour each page, this may not be the best title to introduce a child to the series; start them with one of his stories instead. (Picture book. 5-8)