Squeamish readers beware. With great gusto and unwavering focus on the gory details, O’Meara kicks up his explanation of the causes and physiological effects of fear with an array of bugaboos, from vampires and ghosts to the guillotine (“SWIIISH!…A basket every time!”) and the Ebola virus. Though he does claim to have seen a ghost, in general he displays a skeptical attitude toward supernatural phenomena, and his rational explanations of night noises around the house, for instance, may offer at least a crumb of comfort to timorous sorts. Kaposy illustrates several of the author’s references to films and literature with black-and-white comics-style panels—breaking down Ichabod Crane’s physical reactions to facing the headless horseman, showing Edgar Allen Poe gravely sticking a finger up his nose to demonstrate how embalmers in ancient Egypt removed a corpse’s brains—and depicts the author himself as an eerily lipless narrator. Hilarious, informative and attractively creepy bait, particularly for reluctant readers. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-55453-294-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2009

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The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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Remarking that ``nothing about the weather is very simple,'' Simon goes on to describe how the sun, atmosphere, earth's rotation, ground cover, altitude, pollution, and other factors influence it; briefly, he also tells how weather balloons gather information. Even for this outstanding author, it's a tough, complex topic, and he's not entirely successful in simplifying it; moreover, the import of the striking uncaptioned color photos here isn't always clear. One passage—``Cumulus clouds sometimes build up into towering masses called cumulus congestus, or swelling cumulus, which may turn into cumulonimbus clouds''—is superimposed on a blue-gray, cloud-covered landscape. But which kind of clouds are these? Another photo, in blue-black and white, shows what might be precipitation in the upper atmosphere, or rain falling on a darkened landscape, or...? Generally competent and certainly attractive, but not Simon's best. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-10546-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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