Appearance and Reality: The Little Bit Scary People by Emily Jenkins
The big boy with thick eyebrows rides his skateboard on the sidewalk and cranks his radio so loud my dad yells out the window for him to turn it down. He's a little bit scary.
The bus driver won't let me on if I don't have the right change. She honks the horn loudly when she doesn't even need to. She's a little bit scary.
The principal at my school has long shiny fingernails, and if she sees me in the hall, she asks if I have a pass. She's a little bit scary.
Ordinary people can appear frightening to small children. Fear of an unknown or strange-looking person can be a good thing, Mother Nature's way of keeping youngsters safe and close with familiar faces all around, but as they head out into the wider world, children need to learn whom to fear and whom to trust.
In Emily Jenkins' new book Little Bit Scary People, The the antidote to the "little bit scary" people is to get to know them and what they do every day. For example, the scary skateboarder loves to make his cat purr when he scratches her under her neck. The fussy bus driver makes fancy breakfasts for her kids before she cranks up the bus, and the sharp-nailed principal takes dancing lessons after school and "really shakes it loose."
Emily Jenkins' flowing text and Alexandra Boiger's lively, imaginative illustrations work together to defuse the fear of the unknown as they show those "little bit scary" characters going about their daily lives with the people and things that matter to them. A little bit of knowledge can be a liberating thing, and Jenkins and Boiger help kids look behind the "sorta scary" faces to see the real human beings behind most of them.
Some people are a little bit scary. But then sometimes (most times, maybe, I think) sometimes they really are not.
Labels: Fears--Fiction (Grades K-3)