Annie Was Warned by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

 

Children

Annie was warned Annie Was WarnedJarrett Krosoczka; Alfred A. Knopf 2003WorldCat

Review by Molly

Annie was told not to go out to the creepy old Montgomery mansion. EVERYONE knows there is something about that old house. But, c’mon now, she WAS born on Halloween, wasn’t she. Annie is not afraid of creepy old places, and she isn’t scared of haunted places. Or creepy old houses full of bats and spiders. BESIDES ALL THAT, her friend did dare her to go.

So, on Halloween night, of course, Annie sneaks out and heads for the dark and foreboding manse. Ooops, what was that at the back of her neck? And, was that a bat flying by? Empty, dark streets and howling wind can cause even the bravest girl to have a little feeling of the jitters, even if she was born on Halloween.Oh no, she hears whispers as she climbs the stairs leading to the front door. Trembling a little she stops for a minute, and then she opens the door.

My resident critics, fifteen first graders, hurried to the rug for reading time. Thirty bright eyes found the cover of Annie Was Warned compelling. Six year olds tend to enjoy spooky and icky, creepy and scary.

Writer Krosoczka offers a good straight on narrative just right for reading aloud. Vocabulary is just spooky enough to appeal to my resident critics. Short and snappy text is suitably spine-chilling. With each turn of the page a new, thrilling moment is encountered.

Spooky illustrations set against a black background portray this spirited little girl’s daunting expedition along the dark, empty street in the howling wind. The full double-page paintings are shown using multi-directional strokes, are accomplished with murky shades forming great spooky shadows; together they produce a ghostly Halloween night atmosphere. They gave us something to talk about for consideration when we do our art work.

Writer/Illustrator Krosoczka uses his talent to create slighting intimidating houses and glaring street lights which seem to almost engulf the trepidatious Annie. From the monstrous, creepy manse with its entry stairway appearing to ascend forever upward to the cobwebby, negative print hand-lettering set on dark ground which grows larger whenever frightening questions are asked, Krosoczka builds the suspense.

The last page folds out, offering an unsuspected surprise. Writer Krosczka’s Annie Was Warned is a suitably scary tale meant to be enjoyed any time and especially at Halloween.

My resident critics and I enjoyed the reading. Annie Was Warned gave us discussion starters about listening to rumors, and “everybody knows” type statements. It gave us the chance to talk about seeking answers and trying to find out what is really happening, perhaps there is a friend just beyond the moment we are in who is just waiting for us. We talked about why Annie felt so afraid, the children were able to verbalize that her fears had as much to do with her own preconceptions as with either the hour or the “forbidding” night. We discussed how letting others do our thinking may prevent us making our own good choices, may cause us to think in error, and may cause us to miss the chance for meeting a new friend. We discussed how gossip and rumor may hurt, be in error and is just plain not the best as opposed to perhaps seeking answers, letting our own choices guide us and doing thinking for ourselves.

Annie Was Warned is a book we continue to enjoy despite Halloween been long behind us this school year. Happy to recommend. Annie Was Warned is a read to for the 4-8 set, for the older readers in part because the first reading may be frightening, it is a read with help for the 7-8s and a read alone for the 9-10s. The book is a good choice for the personal reading shelf of children and for the home, school, classroom and public library list.

More books by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

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