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The Children's Bookshelf: BOO! HISS! - November 27, 2022

BOO! HISS! by author- illustrator Cyndi Marko is a graphic novel chapter book full of eighty pages of fun for readers 6-9 years of age. A storyteller sets most situations up for the reader and then a cute little ghost by the name of Phyllis and her friend, a silly snake named Sheldon, carry the story forth in graphic novel style inside speech bubbles.

The two friends have lived together comfortably for many years in an empty house that is now up for sale! The two friends are frantic when a truck called MOVE IT pulls up and a family of humans---a mother, father, a boy, a baby, and a dog begin to move in! “Who are they? What are they doing? This is OUR HOUSE!”

The clever illustrations, the fun-filled speech bubbles and the use of lots of sound words such as Boo and Hiss will keep the reader’s attention. Their plan to scare the family out of the house is also delightful. However, when the family finally decides to leave the “haunted” house, Phyllis and Sheldon realize they will miss them greatly and put into effect their Un-scare Plan. By the end of the book, they are all living happily together----Phyllis the ghost bakes cupcakes and reads stories out loud to all while Sheldon the snake holds sheet music for Dad’s jazzy performances. They are now a family.

BOO! HISS! by the talented Cyndi Marko is a perfect chapter book about togetherness for readers 6-9 years old who are beginning to enjoy the colorful and creative aspects of the graphic novel. (Aladdin/ Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division) 2022.

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for BOO! HISS!

Reread Chapter 6 and find the following sound words: Boom, Bang, Clang, Boo, Rattle, Hiss, Whump, Crash, Thump and Honk. Each of these words stand for a sound. Speak each one out loud by making the sound that is indicated. Don’t be bashful. Open your mouth and have fun with sound!

The family members who moved into the house included Mom, Dad, Charlie, baby, and the family dog. Which one was your favorite character and why? Consider each character’s contribution to family life as well as each character’s hobbies and interests. Draw a picture of your favorite character saying something. Please use the speech bubble format.

Questions: Why were Boo and Hiss upset when they saw a moving van in the front yard? Why did their attempts to frighten the baby fail? Why did their Scare Plan also not work against the baby’s older brother? At the end of the story, what reasons did Boo and Hiss give for not wanting the family to leave?

Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.