Creepy Crayon! (Aaron Reynolds)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Creepy Crayon!, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown, third in the pair’s Creepy series starring Jasper Rabbit.

At the opening of this entry, the reader finds Jasper struggling at school; in fact, art class seems to be the only place he is excelling. That is, until the day that Jasper happens upon a purple crayon dangling over the storm drain, one that seems… oddly happy to see him. When using the purple crayon in class, Jasper finds that the correct answers write themselves! He no longer has to concern himself with studying, as the crayon does all the work for him, earning praise from his teachers and classmates. However, Jasper begins to grow uncomfortable with his accolades, especially when the crayon begins taking over his art projects and writing creepy messages around him. How will Jasper find his way out of this spooky situation?

Genuine creeps with a subtle lesson. Reynolds and Brown have a knack for creating spooky picture books that perfectly walk the line of unsettling yet not overly scary, and this might be their best effort yet. Not only was JJ “spooked out” by the purple crayon, even I was legitimately starting to get the willies from this disquieting art supply! Best of all, underneath the creeps lies an important lesson on academic effort, particularly that a mediocre improvement earned through one’s hard work will always be more satisfying (and less stressful) than cheating or taking the easy way out. Brown’s grayscale-and-purple visuals are wonderfully atmospheric and often cinematic, the length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ and I both loved this one. A great title to check out during spooky season, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to the Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Creepy Carrots! (Aaron Reynolds)

Hello, everyone! Our book today is Creepy Carrots!, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown, the tale of a rabbit who finds himself the subject of a spooky mystery!

Jasper Rabbit loves carrots, and none are better than the carrots that grow wild in Crackenhooper Field. He always grabs a few to munch on when he’s headed to school or little league, and he doesn’t think anyone minds much. That is, until he begins to see the carrots following him. EVERYWHERE. Are the sinister veggies a figment of his imagination? Or is he being stalked by… Creepy Carrots?

This was a fun book. There is a fantastic visual and storytelling motif that pays tribute to the horror movies of old (the drawn out suspense, the trichromatic illustrations – black, white, and orange, naturally) but isn’t so scary that young kids won’t enjoy it. In fact, this seems like an especially good book to read aloud, with lots of opportunities for spooky voices. However, younger kids might not get the joke, and could leave them a bit scared to eat their veggies! But older kids and baby bookworms like JJ will have a blast. The length is good, and this will make a creepy-cute read for storytime with your own little bunny. Baby Bookworm approved!