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Just Say Boo!: Susan Hood & Jed Henry

Book: Just Say Boo!
Author: Susan Hood
Illustrator: Jed Henry
Pages: 32
Age Range: 3 and up 

Just Say Boo! is a fun, rhyming Halloween book perfect for preschoolers. It follows a family with four children, three of them old enough to trick-or-treat, through Halloween night. Most of the action takes place as the older kids trick-or-treat, but the story ends with the whole family at home, comforting the briefly frightened baby. 

The narrative structure of Just Say Boo! consists of a page with a question, followed by a page with the answer. Hint: the answer is usually "Boo!". Like this:

"If the ghosts in the trees
wibble-wobble your knees,
what do you say?"

(next page) BOO!

If a yip and a yowl
make you shiver and scowl
what do you say?"

You get the idea. I think that someone else must have read this book to my 2 1/2 year old before I did, because the first time I read it to her, she happily chimed in with the "Boo!" each time. Readers also have a chance to chime in with "TRICK-OR-TREAT!" and "Thank you!" later in the book, some good, casual learning for new trick-or-treaters. 

Baby Bookworm also really likes the ending of this book, when the baby cries, and then is reassured by his family, ending the book with a smile. While hardly an edge-of-the-seat plotline, this is the sort of reassurance that toddlers eat up. 

Jed Henry's fall-toned illustrations use dramatic perspectives to add an appropriate note of scariness to Just Say Boo! Although we see the father setting out with the children, many of the trick-or-treat scenes show the three kids alone, being frightened by ghosts or goblins. Then on the pages where they shout "Boo!", they are usually joyful again. This mix of moods is accompanied by subtle shifts in the color palette, and is the perfect mix of boisterous and spooky. As is Just Say Boo! in general. 

At Waking Brain Cells, Tasha said of this book "If you are going to get just one Halloween book this season, this is the one!". I agree. Just Say Boo! is a delightful, age-appropriate introduction to the joys of Halloween night, and a fun in-lap read-aloud. Highly recommended!

Publisher: HarperCollins (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).