“Haunted House: Day & Night” by Jaybie D.

“Haunted House: Day & Night” by Jaybie D. 819 1024 Reader Views Kids

Haunted House: Day & Night

Jaybie D.
Wonder Whirl Press (2024)
ISBN: 978-1961860346
Reviewed by Terri Stepek for Reader Views (05/2024)

As adults, we understand that darkness changes our perception, hence the phrase, “All cats are grey in the dark.”  With a lack of light, colors and details fade, and objects look different than they did in the light.  Imaginative author Jaybie D. has taken this concept and created a great book for children who worry about things that go bump in the night.

Jaybie D’s “Haunted House: Day & Night” is a terrific concept, a useful tool for parents, and just plain fun to read.  Mandy is a little girl whose sleep is disturbed by the howling wind and the shadows that dance on her bedroom walls because of it.  The sounds would make her jump with the terror of unknown possibilities.  What’s that noise in the closet?  Is something under the bed?

I don’t know about you, but I remember some sleepless nights as a child when these things frightened me to a ridiculous level.  It happens to most children at some point, making the theme of this delightful book relevant for children and their parents.

Interestingly, because of her fright, Mandy’s brother and mother decide a trip to a “Haunted House” is in order.  This place may look like it came straight from the neighborhood of Disney’s Haunted Mansion.  But it’s actually an attraction for the community to attend, and Mandy’s mom knows Mr. Holder, the man in charge of production.

Poor Mandy has sullenly stated repeatedly since this idea was presented that she absolutely would not go in there.  But when she meets Mr. Holder, he seems so nice that she decides she can give it a try.  After all, it’s daytime and Mr. Holder is offering to give them a behind-the-scenes look at the Haunted House.

Fear is so often based on our lack of knowledge about an event, and the best way to dispel that fear is to look it in the face and see what’s really happening.  That’s precisely what Mandy’s family does, as they see people dressing in costumes, applying scary make-up, rigging props, and preparing fog machines.  What a great idea!

Then after having seen how the Haunted House looks with the lights on, they come back at night to get the full effect.  It’s so much fun to see the different perspectives of the house by day and by night.

I absolutely love this unique premise and its presentation.  Mandy is easy to relate to with her fear of the dark and her lack of desire to go into a spooky-looking house.  Meanwhile, her brother Kyle thinks the entire thing is great fun, and enthusiastically welcomes the scares.  The story is told completely in rhyming stanzas, adding even more of a sense of fun.  But for me, it’s the imaginative illustrations that make this book come to life.  “Haunted House: Day & Night” is simply visually stunning.  My take on the unusual illustrations is that it looks a bit like a mash-up of drawn illustrations combined with clip art and paper dolls.  I know.  It sounds crazy.  But boy, does it work!

What a great way to open up a conversation with your children about things they may be afraid of.  Because this book offers so much more than just helping a reluctant child overcome his or her fear of a haunted house attraction. This concept can apply to many of the fears young children have.  So don’t save this treat for Halloween!  Enjoy it all year long.

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