The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Mark Fearing

The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael 
by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Mark Fearing
Review Copy from Candlewick Press
Story: With a rhyming text as bumpy and suspenseful as the Thirteen bus that Michael McMichael boards, Becker's story is a rollicking ride with just the right amount of grim creepiness. Michael is tasked with bringing his Grandma her pet, tucked into a wicker basket with a checkered cloth peeking out, so he boards the bus despite misgivings. As the strange riders disembark, often with the help of the polite, if nervous, Michael, he begins to notice things about the driver and the bus itself, which seems to be alive... When told he has to pay his fare with, "meat or bone," as the driver tweaks his ear and the bus heads toward a deep, dark forest, Michael makes an important decision, Grandma's pet saving the day.
Pictures: Fearing's illustrations are PERFECTLY paired with Becker's text and kids will love the creep factor. With his slightly cartoonish style, Fearing is able to make his illustrations just the right amount of scary for a picture book. And I especially love that Fearing's illustrations never fully reveal exactly what is in the basket Michael is taking to Grandma, beyond some glaring eyes and hairy tentacles. Fearing is a fantastic illustrator and author and I urge you to check out his wonderful graphic novel, Earthling and his HILARIOUS picture book, Giant Pants.
Why Read? Why Buy?: Read The Frightful Ride of Michael McMichael because kids will LOVE IT! Well, kids, like those I encounter at the school where I work, will love it as they can never seem to get enough of the spooky stuff. As the person reading the book, you will definitely appreciate Becker's rhyming text that builds and bursts into an exciting climax. Buy it if you know a little listener who likes the scary stuff that's not too scary in the end.

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