Carrot Stalks: Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
JASPER RABBIT COULDN'T GET ENOUGH CARROTS...
And it's a craving that is easy to feed, since he walks right by Crackenhopper Fields on his way to school and baseball practice and back every day. Jasper rips them up, yanks them up, and snatches several every time he passes, gnawing and chomping on them with gusto.
... UNTIL THEY STARTED FOLLOWING HIM.
It's not just that he hears scary sounds, a sinister tunktunktunk, behind him on the way home after dark.
THAT NIGHT, AS HE WAS BRUSHING HIS TEETH, THERE THEY WERE!
In the mirror, Jasper sees three creepy, gap-toothed carrots peering malevolently from behind the shower curtain.
But when he whirls around, there's nothing on the side of the bathtub but an orange rubber ducky, a orange washcloth, and and a tall orange shampoo bottle.
The shape-shifting root veggies stalk him everywhere, always managing to morph into innocent orange objects--orange-handled hedge shears, an orange sand bucket, a discarded orange soda can. Obligingly, an obviously skeptical Dad helps him search the house for rapacious root veggies, with no results. His parents insist it's all nothing more than his overgrown imagination. But Jasper knows he's right!
CREEPY CARROTS WERE COMING FOR HIM!
Then Jasper comes up with a personal plan of action. Those vampire veggies can't come for him if they can't get out of their garden.
Jasper carefully measures their plot, builds a tall brick wall around the carrot patch, and digs a moat surrounding the garden--even stocking the moat with hungry (presumably vegetarian) 'gators.
Jasper feels safe and secure at last.
But Jasper is not the only one who is celebrating. Down at Crackenhopper Field, there's a partying group of secure carrots who now KNOW NO FEAR.
Artist Peter Brown, illustrator of Aaron Reynolds' Creepy Carrots! (Simon & Schuster, 2012) was awarded a 2013 Caldecott Honor Medal at last month's American Library Association Youth Media Awards for his clever tale of carrot stalkers. Brown's Jasper is the usual rabbity kid character, shown in gloomy gray scale drawings, but his vindictive and vengeful carrots are cleverly comic, with just a trace of menace to them. Brown uses orange only for the carrots and their orangish alter egos, making this tale of possibly carnivorous carrots a mock-horror story of much wit and humor.