When Precious is left home alone with a stomachache, she's got nothing but a warning from Mama -- "Don't let nothing or nobody into this house" -- to keep her company. You see, "nothing or nobody" could turn out to be something awful: the Boo Hag! The Boo Hag's got a voice that rumbles like thunder and hair that shoots out like lightning. And she can disguise herself to look like anything. So when the Boo Hag comes calling, will Precious be clever enough to outwit even the trickiest trickster?
Here's an oh-so-funny -- and not-too-scary -- story from Newbery Honor-winning author Patricia C. McKissack and Onawumi Jean Moss that's paired with spirited, folksy illustrations by Kyrsten Brooker.
A young African-American girl named Precious has a stomachache, so she has to stay at home alone while the whole family leaves to plant corn. Mama tells her, "Now remember, don't let nothing and nobody in this house--not even me, 'cause I got a key." Precious's older brother warns her with a wink that, you never know, Pruella the Boo Hag could even try to get in: "She's tricky and she's scary, and she tries to make you disobey yo' mama." Sure enough, the shapeshifting Pruella shows up, first as a big, mean force with lightning hair and burning-cinder eyes; then as a friendly-looking, but more-than-slightly off visitor asking for a drink of dirty dishwater; then as a strange, raspy-voiced facsimile of her friend Addie Louise; and finally, as a copper penny.
Clever Precious never falls for the Boo Hag's half-baked disguises (the Boo Hag "aine too smart") and her family is proud to find her at home safe and sound. That night, as Precious hums her victory song in bed, the reader is asked to look just outside her window... have we really seen the end of Boo Hag? Kyrsten Brooker's wonderfully expressive, mixed-media collage illustrations shine with as much humor, motion, and texture as the story. Young readers will revel in this original, vivacious, suspenseful-but-not-too-scary, read-aloud tale about a child's conquest of a genuinely spooky foe. -- Karin Snelson
|5 - 8
|Patricia C. McKissack, Onawumi Jean Moss
|Jan 6, 2005
|Atheneum Books for Young Readers