Monday, 12 December 2011

The Haunted House and Jack Frost by Kazuno Karaha

I had very high hopes for Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara. They were high hopes founded on strong foundations too, since I love The Haunted House by the same author. The cheeky, translucent ghosts are a real hit, and it does a very wonderful and magical thing - takes something potentially extremely scary, and makes it utterly non-threatening, making it an ideal bedtime story.

I had high hopes for today when it started too. However these were dashed by pre-Christmas frenzified children, my car flashing a big red STOP! on the dashboard, seemingly at random, the self-same car allowing its rubber seal thingy on the driver's side windscreen wiper to fly off, rendering said windscreen wiper useless in the midst of a howling tempest, and various other minor annoyances.

Never mind, I thought, I'll get Jack Frost out of the books-possibly-for-Christmas-but-maybe-just-for-winter bag and read it, that'll cheer us all up! How wrong can you be, by the way? (with apologies to the great Frank Cotterell Boyce.) It started really well, poor sad lonely boy finds fun wintery chum to share in his japes. Chum warns boy not to mention warm things. They play wintery games and make jovial snowmen, frolicking and laughing in the gorgeously drawn icy landscapes. And then the boy accidentally says "spring" and Jack disappears. He whispers that he'll be back as he vanishes. Did this stop both of my children sobbing broken-heartedly for several minutes at the end? No, it did not. It's not an *ideal* bedtime story that ends with you having to mop up snot and tears, especially when one is not exactly in the right frame of mind to spend time exploring those emotions and having a discussion about valid feelings of loss. If you feel like doing that though, or have less sensitive children than I, then enjoy!

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