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Creepy Carrots!: Aaron Reynolds & Peter Brown

Book: Creepy Carrots!
Author: Aaron Reynolds
Illustrator: Peter Brown
Pages: 40
Age Range: 4 - 8

Creepy Carrots!, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown, is a quirky, original picture book. I read it after it was shortlisted for the Cybils in Fiction Picture Books. It was later named a Caldecott Honor Book. To me, what stands out most about Creepy Carrots! is that it is FUN.   

 The premise of Creepy Carrots! is that young Jasper Rabbit happily eats carrots from Crackenhopper Field every day. Right up until the day he starts to imagine that the carrots are following him. As time passes, the "soft ... sinister ... tunktunktunk of carrots creeping" makes Jasper go a little bit crazy. Although much of the book is rather creepy, the ending will make kids (and their parents) laugh out loud. 

Creepy Carrots! is actually just creepy enough that, although I love it, I'm not going to share it with my three year old daughter until she is older. The last thing is I need is her having nightmares about carrots following her home, or hiding in her bedroom. And I certainly don't want her getting scared off from eating carrots. But I will save it for when she's a tiny bit older. 

It is a great read-aloud, full of interesting sounds and dramatic pauses. Like this:

"That night, as he was brushing his teeth...
there they were!

Jasper whipped around ... but nothing. He
laughed at himself, picked his toothbrush off
the floor, and went to bed ... quickly.

"There they were" above is in larger font, giving the adult reader an extra cue to emphasize those words. There's a nice, dry humor, too. Like later on, when Jasper thinks he sees the creepy carrots in his room, his dad tells him to go back to sleep. The text reads: "That wasn't going to happen." 

Brown's illustrations stick to a gray, black, and orange palette. This would be a good Halloween book. Only the carrots, or things that could be mistaken for the carrots, are shown in color. Brown makes excellent use of shadows. For instance, in Jasper's room, a huge shadow on the wall lurks behind an otherwise small carrot. Jasper is shown wide-eyed and frightened throughout most of the book, but is gleeful near the end, when he comes up with a plan to fight back. The illustrations match the text well in tone.

Creepy Carrots! is a humorous, unusual picture book, one that lends itself well to read-aloud, and that kids will find deliciously creepy. Recommended for kids old enough to find the idea of walking, sneaking carrots funny, and who won't be frightened by the idea of things that go tunktunktunk in the night. Highly recommended. 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (@SimonKids)
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Source of Book: Purchased for Round 2 in Fiction Picture Books for Cybils

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© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook