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Jitterbug Jam: A Monster Tale    by Barbara Jean Hicks & Alexis Deacon order for
Jitterbug Jam
by Barbara Jean Hicks
Order:  USA  Can
Red Fox, 2006 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Nobody believes the poor little monster and his brother Buster calls him a fraidy-cat, but you believe him, don't you? There's a boy who hides under his bed 'on purpose' to scare him. Bobo tells us that 'Even Godzilla, who everyone knows / is the bravest monster ever, / would be scared of a boy / with pink skin / and orange fur on his head / where his horns by right should be'.

Then, while eating 'homemade bread with jitterbug jam', Bobo tells grampa Boo-Dad about the scary boy. So grampa shares an olden days story of his own terrifying experience - when he crept 'under the big old iron gate' and encountered a girl in a garden - and advises the small monster what to do. When Bobo takes grampa's advice, he finds out why that orange-furred boy keeps hiding under his bed, and he has a wonderful idea.

This cross between a picture book and graphic novel is perfect for children almost ready for the transition to chapter books. Jitterbug Jam offers a delicious role reversal, encourages empathy, and introduces the notion that other kids, no matter how frightening (even monstrous) they seem, might be just as shy - and ready for friendship - as you are.

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