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Hoodwinked
Story and illustrations by Arthur Howard


Harcourt, 2001
$16.00 hardcover
32 pages


Dust jacket image used courtesy of Harcourt, Inc. Mitzi wants a pet.

Being a witch, she wants a creepy pet. But the toad ignores her, the bats just hang around with each other, and Mitzi has serious doubts about the warthogs.

We know Mitzi will eventually discover the perfect pet - but what sort of creepy-crawly will it be?

The moral is "looks aren't everything." Mitzi even says so herself. Fortunately for the rest of us that doesn't dominate the story. Arthur Howard builds his picture book around the clever reversal of reader expectations. Where you or I might wear bunny slippers, Mitzi's have monster faces, and so on. This is a cuddly sort of creepiness - there is no viciousness or intent of malice in either story or drawings. In any case, Mitzi is so obviously comfortable with all the "creepy things" that young readers will be too. (And even young readers will appreciate the irony of Mitzi's deepest, darkest secret.)

In October particularly - with Halloween around the corner - children juggle a desire to be scared and thrilled with a need to be safe. They want scary, but not too scary, and the threshold for each child is different. For the more cautious reader, Hoodwinked meets a gentle balance.

Dust jacket illustration by Arthur Howard; courtesy of Harcourt, Inc.

Reviewed by Wendy Morris. © 2001 by Wendy Morris

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