PB 14:14 Day 9 – Creepy Carrots!

If you aren’t already, don’t forget to blog hop to all the other insightful reviews in the Picture Books 14:14 Challenge!  And speaking of hopping, my picture book today is Creepy Carrots! for its suspenseful pacing.

Creepy CarrotsTitle: Creepy Carrots!

Author: Aaron Reynolds

Illustrator: Peter Brown

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012

I read to a lot of kids, and one thing that they almost unanimously love is a book that scares them… but not too much.  Aaron Reynolds picks a perfectly scary-but-not-too-scary topic: a rabbit being followed by the very carrots he loves to eat.  And the pacing of the story is just as perfect.

As Jasper becomes more and more suspicious that creepy carrots are following him, the pacing of the tale builds more and more suspense.  It starts out with a slowly eerie description:

He first noticed something strange after the big game against the East Valley Hares.  Jasper was about to help himself to a victory snack…when he heard it.  The soft…sinister…tunktunktunk of carrots creeping.

The author uses frequent ellipses and page breaks to string the reader nail-bitingly along.  But every time he thinks he sees carrots, he turns around and sees nothing.  The story scares, then reassures, scares, then reassures, always leaving a tantalizing what if?  What if Jasper isn’t just seeing things?  What if the creepy carrots attack him at any moment?

Creepy Carrots 2

As the tension builds, Jasper becomes jumpier, both his and the readers’ heartbeats are probably pounding faster, and the story’s pace quickens.

They searched under the bed.  No creepy carrots.  

They looked through the closet.  No creepy carrots.

They opened the dresser drawers.  No.  Creepy.  Carrots.

Well, the carrots don’t attack Jasper (not too scary), but Jasper reaches his breaking point.  He decides to take care of those creepy carrots once and for all and builds a high fence and crocodile-filled moat around the carrot patch.  All is well… until… the author builds suspense one last time before revealing the truth about creepy carrots.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “PB 14:14 Day 9 – Creepy Carrots!

  1. ManjuBeth

    Author Aaron Reynolds and Illustrator Peter Brown make a great team. Aaron’s pacing and Peter’s shadows create spooky spreads.

  2. Pacing is the perfect one for this book. I feel like you always have to leave time to immediately re-read this one to students after the ending too!

  3. My granddaughter seems to have a new love affair with zombies… I forgot about this book, she’ll be seeing this one soon!

    • Yes, zombies are all the rage these days. Do you know any good zombie picture books?

      • I just check out a few. I liked Zombelina by Kristyn Crow (2013). There’s also The Zombie Nite Cafe by Merrily Kutner (2007), Wake the Dead by Monica A Harris (2004) and No Zombies Allowed by Matt Novak (I almost reviewed this one, but it’s older 2002). The biggest surprise for me was My Mama Says There Aren’t Any Zombies, Ghosts, Vampires, Creatures, Demons, Monsteres, Fiends, Goblins, or Things by Judith Viorst (1973) author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad, Day! It was cute.

  4. Have you watcher Peter Brown’s video of how he illustrated this book? It is excellent.

  5. Wow, this book sounds like the whacky dreams I have sometimes. Hmmm…maybe I should start writing out some of them 😉

    I haven’t seen this book yet. My library doesn’t have it. I’ll have to try another one, because you’ve made me curious.

    • Definitely write down your whacky dreams! I remember having a dream once about scary popsicles… who knew it would have been so close to a winning story line? Hope you’re able to track the book down. 🙂

  6. Believe it or not, I still haven’t gotten my hands on this book. I would have guessed pacing was a key here, your review Laura confirms it. And I always wondered what creeping carrots sounded like: “tunktunktunk”

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