The Scariest Thing of All by Debi Gliori
This story of a very frightened young rabbit is uplifted by the marvelous illustrations. Pip was a very little rabbit and had a huge list of things that he was scared of. The list included rain because it reminded him of the sound a leggy wiggler makes in its web, bubbles in the water reminded him of a gobbler hiding at the bottom of the pond, and tree stumps were like the teeth of a giant wood troll. He exhausted himself because he was so worried and frightened all the time. He was so tired he fell fast asleep until dinnertime. When he woke up, he heard a dreadful Raaar! Pip ran and ran, as far away from the sound as he could. Finally, he stopped deep in the woods. He saw a scary thing nearby, and heard the sound again. Pip was going to have to be brave and smart to figure out what was making that horrible noise.
Gliori’s story of a small rabbit who is afraid of almost everything will resonate with children. The ending has Pip becoming a much braver rabbit. The book does conclude a bit too quickly and neatly. Gliori spends much of her story developing the depths of fear and panic that Pip is living with. All of that plays out very strongly, creating a firm foundation for the story.
The art here really makes this picture book special. It moves from the sunny warmth of Pip’s family and home to the dark blueness of a woods at night. Throughout the woods scenes there is an incredible blue moon rising above him, giving a haunted feel to those pages that is marvelously chilling.
This would make a great pick for a preschool Halloween story time because it has monsters and creepy things but won’t frighten. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.