Thursday, March 11, 2010

Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood

Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood was my all time favorite childhood book. I saved this book review for last for this reason. This book is is a little scary, heart warming, and teaches a lesson. As a child, I thought this book was the greatest. Today, I still feel that way. Books like this and Rumpelstiltskin had an element of fantasy combined with reality
Heckedy Peg is a story that teaches the lesson that children should listen to their parents and not talk to strangers. In fact, the children in this story (named after the days of the week) did not listen to their mother and ended up facing severe consequences. When they let the witch into their home and lit her pipe, she turned them into food! As you can imagine, the children's mother was extremely distraught when she returned to find an empty house. Luckily, a blackbird told her where she would be able to find her children and the dreadful witch. Right as the witch was about to take her first bite of pie (Monday), she was stopped by a knock at the door. She was hesitant to let the woman in and gave many excuses to keep her outside. However, the mother was very smart and tricked the witch into letting her come inside. Once inside, the witch decides to play a game with the mother. If the mother can identify which child is which food, they will be able to become children once again. In the beginning of the book, the mother planned to give her children something from the market they asked for. She used this information to identify all of her children (successfully). Once they became children again, the mother chased Heckedy Peg. The witch jumped into the river and was never seen again.
I know I gave a very detailed plot description of this book, but I think it is really a great book. I'm not sure why exactly this book sticks out in my memory, but it does. There is suspense, it is a longer children's book, and the format is unique. I think these are reasons I really liked Heckedy Peg. On some pages, there were multiple pictures and text. (One page divided into thirds.)
The illustrations in this book are similar to Don Wood's other books. Because of this, I am once again fascinated with them. The expressions are so realistic. In fact, the witch could be a little too scary for some young children. When the children are food, you can see their faces within them. I think that was a really creative element.
If you haven't read this book before, I strongly recommend doing so. It is one of a kind and full of great details and has an intriguing story.

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