Saturday, May 30, 2009

Book Review #5: JIBBERWILLIES AT NIGHT by Rachel Vail; illustrated by Yumi Heo

JIBBERWILLIES AT NIGHT by Rachel Vail, Yumi Heo (Illustrator)
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Pub. Date: October 2008
ISBN-13: 9780439420709
Sales Rank: 419,557
Age Range: 4 to 8

Synopsis (from the publisher):

Katie Honors is back! Katie loves playing with her friends and snuggling with her family, but sometimes at night she's afraid. For Katie, her fears and worries take the shape of Jibberwillies, creatures who fly through her bedroom at night. Luckily, Katie's mom knows just what to do. Together, they catch the troublesome Jibberwillies in a bucket and toss them out the window. It's tough work, but finally the Jibberwillies are gone and next time it happens Katie knows just what she'll do. An empowering book for any child who has ever had nighttime fears.


My Thoughts:

This is a delightful book with an enticing little heroine and an ingenious mom. Over the first few pages, we meet Katie, and she gives us a quick rundown of her day -- waking up with a smile, playing with her friends, and snuggling with her family. Then she gets down to business and explains that sometimes, only sometimes, when she is trying to fall asleep at night, the Jibberwillies come and pester her. She bravely tries to deal with them herself with a variety of sweet and childlike coping strategies, but when those pesky Jibberwillies prove to be too tough for her, Mom comes up with a fool-proof plan to oust the annoying rascals into the night.

The kids at my house really enjoy this book, and we have read it over and over. Colorful and expressive illustrations by Yumi Heo accentuate both the joyous nature of Katie as well as her sense of bewildering fear. The Jibberwillies themselves are yukky, but not overwhelmingly so.

On the back flap of the book, Rachel Vail, who resides in New York City, explains that she wrote the story in September 2001 and "Lots of people had Jibberwillies right then." This knowledge adds an element of poignancy to the story. With older children, it can also lead to a discussion of the events of that September. My 8 year-old nephew has a fascination with New York City (as well as with reading book flaps!) and we talked about how kids living in the City must have felt and coped during that time.

Rachel Vail and Yumi Heo also teamed up for a previous book about Katie, SOMETIMES I'M BOMBALOO. I tried to find a website for Yumi Heo, but was unsuccessful; however, she has illustrated and written other picture books which you can look over here.

Rachel Vail has written many picture books and is also the author of several young adult novels, including the very recently released GORGEOUS. You can access her blog through her website.

I won this book through a giveaway hosted by Kimberly Pauley of Young Adult (& Kid's) Books Central (a/k/a YABC). YABC is a fun and in-depth site and, if you're not familiar with it, you should check it out. Kimberly Pauley is the author of SUCKS TO BE ME: THE ALL-TRUE CONFESSIONS OF MINA HAMILTON, TEEN VAMPIRE (MAYBE). Check out her blog and book, too!