Thursday, September 26, 2013

Shelf Life [kids]

Phobiapedia: All the Things We Fear the Most by Joel Levy, 80 pages
It’s been said that everyone is afraid of something. True? Well, there are certainly many things to be afraid of (including many that you were probably unaware of), as Joel Levy’s book demonstrates so well.
We’ve all heard about or know someone who fears thunder and lightning, heights, the dark, being trapped in an elevator or another confined space, visiting the dentist, snakes, spiders, termites or other insects.  But did you know that some people also fear mushrooms and toadstools (“mycophobia”), forests (“hylophobia”), toads (“bufonophobia”), water (“aquaphobia”) or even household dust (“koniophobia”)?  
It turns out that there are good reasons to fear some of these things. Mushrooms and toadstools can be poisonous; people can become lost in forests or drown in water, and there are some particularly unhealthy things in household dust – such as fungal spores, insect fragments, mites and fragments of human skin.
If you feel silly admitting that you’re afraid of wasps, tell people that you suffer from “spheksophobia”! Afraid of insects?  In that case, you have “entomophobia”. (These terms sound much more serious and dignified, don’t they?)  There’s a scientific name for almost every phobia – even the fear of large things (“megalophobia”), snow (“cheimaphobia”), the colour white (“leukophobia”) and the colour yellow (“xanthophobia”).
However, students will notice that a phobia about homework isn’t addressed in this book.
Joel Levy’s book of fears and phobias is sure to engage even reluctant readers with its fascinating information, humour and eye-catching illustrations.

** Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.

Christopher Sat Straight Up in Bed by Kathy Long, 32 pages.
Many preschoolers have a fear of the dark. Kathy Long’s new story, Christopher Sat Straight Up in Bed, addresses this fear with understanding and subtle humour.
On the first night at his grandparents’ house, Christopher was awakened by a loud, scary noise. He sat up in his bed and listened carefully. “Honk-shoo!” “Honk-shoo!” It sounded like a trumpeting elephant outside his window!  
Gathering up his courage, Christopher looked out, but there was no elephant there.  Hmmm.  Could it be a monster under his bed or a bear in his closet?  He looked in both places, but he could see no sign of an under-the-bed monster or an in-the-closet bear.
It wasn’t a dinosaur stomping down the street, or a mountain lion in the hallway, either. What could be making the mysterious sound?
As Christopher listened carefully, he realized that the noise could be coming from the other end of the hallway. He tiptoed down the hall, very quietly and very slowly.  Sure enough, the sound was coming from his grandparents’ room.
Older children may guess the source of the noise (Grandfather’s snoring) but younger preschoolers will be surprised and amused by the conclusion to this winsome story.

** Recommended for ages 2 to 5 years.

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on September 26, 2013. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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