Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

This Week's Travel Reading (Shocktober Edition)

It may seem odd for an adult to read a children's book on the train, but few books can get me in the mood for Halloween like Scary Godmother, a series of stories (both book-length and short) written and illustrated by Chicago's own Jill Thompson.

The first book, originally published in 1997, is the story of Hannah Marie, a little girl who's excited that she gets to dress up as a princess and head out for her first-ever night of trick-or-treating with the big kids. Less excited is her cousin, Jimmy, who'd much rather ditch Hannah and grab as much candy as his greedy little hands can hold.

Jimmy comes up with a nasty plan: Scare Hannah Marie so bad she'll run home early, leaving Jimmy and his friends plenty of time to hit every house in town. He takes her into an abandoned house and convinces the poor little girl that not only were the previous residents of the old house eaten by a monster in the basement, but that she will be as well unless she gives the monster candy.

Luckily for Hannah Marie, Scary Godmother and her friends--including a ghost cat, a skeleton, a very toothy, multi-eyed monster and several chatty bats--show the little girl that she has nothing to fear from Halloween. And Jimmy and his buddies? They don't fare as well: Not only do Scary Godmother and her friends deliver a solid fright to the naughty lads, but they wind up handing over just about all their candy to Hannah Marie!

Sure, these stories are fast reads, but it's a pleasure to go back and examine each illustration, just to catch all the funny, creepy details Thompson lovingly packs into each and every page of each and every story. Thompson clearly loves the holiday as much as I do--maybe more--and shares that love through her sweet, fun-loving witchy doppelganger.

Shocktober 10/23/14

Wednesday, October 22, 2014