Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Children's Book Review: Cause and Effect... continued

If you don't know who Scaredy Squirrel is, your life lacks color, meaning... and probably a three year old.  Scaredy Squirrel at Night by Melanie Watt is a very cute story tackling one of the toughest topics a parent can face: nightmares.  I can remember laying in bed as a kid dreaming up all kinds of nonsense at three a.m. the voices in my head screaming away, and irrational fears winning the day... or night, that is.  Wyatt's always seem to involve spiders.  Scaredy is, of course, scared of a whole slew of different creatures, so he decides to stay up all night by undertaking a variety of hobbies, such as scrap booking.

The book includes some of the real life side effects of sleeplessness, such as poor reflexes, moodiness, and hallucinations.  He has read in his horoscope (he's a Libra) that at midnight, all of his dreams will come true, so he begins his Bad Dream Plan Action Plan (see below).  His plan involves a spotlight, cupcakes, banana peel, fire extinguisher, safety cones, fan, molasses, decoy, pillow and blanket, and teddy bear.  The Plan will repudiate all of Scaredy's most feared creatures, and had me wondering how they will work together to tell a story.

The Plan, in a cruel twist of fate, involves hungry raccoons (they were drawn in by the cupcakes and molasses; their shadows looked very monster-like because of the spotlight)  and Scaredy ends up falling victim to his own traps.  He remembers the caveat that if all else fails, one should "play dead" until morning, so he plays dead... only to fall asleep!  The next day he awakes refreshed, and we get a list of some of the real-life effects of a good night's sleep.

The book is very clever and shows little kids the power of cause and effect by stringing together some very unpredictable events to tell a story.  For a cartoon that does the same, tune in to the exploits of Finn and Jake on Adventure Time.

For other posts on children's books click here, herehere, or here.

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