by Chase and Davon Washington & Ana-Gabriela Stroe, illustrator
Bedford House Books 2014
Age 4 to 8 34 pages
“It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, but only a second to lose it. Why is it that we are so quick to judge before giving people (or monsters in this case) the benefit of the doubt? There is nothing that feels more wonderful than being recognized for all of your hard work. However, when that recognition does not come, does it make the task a hand any less important? Sometimes the very thing that we are scared to encounter can be the thing that moves us forward. Facing a fear can mean the difference between failure and success. With that in mind, we thought that a good place to start would be with the wrongfully accused “Boogeyman.”
“A long time ago, someone called me the Boogeyman, the name stuck. Maybe I should take the time to formally introduce myself . . . I’m Jack the Boogey.”
Jack the Boogey, protector of children’s sleep, is a monster. Yes, monsters haunt children by living under their beds, hiding out in closets, and maybe even tickling them and then hiding when the child wakes up afraid of the dark. Those monsters are afraid of Jack the Boogey. Jack is the night patrolman who keeps children’s dreams from becoming nightmares. Nasty monsters do not like Jack. Jack ruins all of their nighttime fun. So what is a scary monster to do? Unionize.
One fateful night, Jack the Boogey was hiding in a closet waiting for monsters to shoo away, when a bad monster showed up. Jack pounced on the monster, but there were more, many more. The monsters were waiting for Jack, and they had a plan. Instead of running, the monsters turned on the bedroom lights, screamed, and then ran. The two children awoke, saw Jack, and then they screamed. Jack tried to explain, but it was useless. Jack the Boogey was now Jack the Boogeyman.
The next day, the two frightened kids told their friends all about the monster Jack the Boogeyman, their friends told their friends, those friends told their friends, and now friends are telling their friends and will until there are no friends left to tell that Jack, is the Boogeyman. From that night on, while monsters ruined kids’ sweet dreams, Jack stayed home in bed, depressed. Would Jack ever return to protect his charges? Will monsters continue to harass children, scare them silly, and make them scream until they can no longer utter a sound? How many more nights will children make parents look into closets and under beds looking for the elusive monsters?
The Boogeyman. Definition: an imaginary monster that causes fear, especially in children; regarded as hateful, evil, or frightening; an imaginary evil creature used in stories for frightening children.
Jack the Boogey is NOT the Boogeyman. Monsters maliciously maligned dear Jack. They wanted him out. As in gone. Permanently. They settled for inflicting anguishing mental pain that so debilitated Jack that he became bedridden and depressed. Yes, some monsters are very frightening. Jack is not one of them. Not many know about boogies, nor how they protect children and adults. I did not know. Nor did I know that a gang of marauding monsters had bullied Jack. Yet they did. Kids will enjoy learning of Jack the Boogie.
The illustrations of Jack and the monsters look cartoonish. Best not to scare children. The monsters do not look as scary as many of them are. Again, best for children. Jack the Boogey-man is a pale blue little guy with rosy cheeks, bright white eyes with small pin-point pupils, and two purple horns atop his head. Before the attack, Jack wore a constant smile that radiated from rosy check to rosy cheek. He looked like a janitor with his key ring hanging off his belt. If he ever wore pants and bent down, well, you get the picture. Jack was harmless except toward monsters. The real monsters that tear apart sweet dreams, hide under beds, and cause mayhem.
The one negative is the end pages. Instead of adhered to the inside front and back covers, they flap in the air as additional pages. Poor planning in the constructions phase. Error on the part of the printers.
Jack’s story is difficult to believe, but kids will immediately understand and empathize with Jack. Bullies are the same, be they in a schoolyard or in a dark bedroom, late at night. The monsters easily fooled the frightened children who immediately told their friends to be careful. Of course, as time went on, the story of Jack the Boogeyman became embellished, and now hoards of children and adults are afraid of boogies, the very monster sent to protect them from monsters. It is a shame really, but the story needed told.
There is a redemptive moment for Jack. He misses the quiet breathing of sleeping children and hates the sound of their screams. Eventually he decides protecting youngsters—and some of us older kids—is more important that his bruised ego and returns to duty, much to the distress of many really scary monsters. Jack puts others before himself, does the right thing, and deflates his bruised ego. The monsters, who had become arrogant, once again run from boogies like Jack.
Jack the Boogey is My Real Name is the debut children’s book for both authors and illustrator. The story is imaginative but a bit wordy, yet easy to read aloud. It will become a nighttime favorite. Right before parents drop to their knees for an under-the-bed monster check. Jack has a mission statement and an official wallet identification card. He is the real deal of imaginary monsters. You’ll never see him as he protects you, but he is there. Young children going through the monster phase may feel comforted when reading about Jack and his protection skills. Nothing in the story is scary or nightmare inducing, making it the perfect anti-monster remedy.
JACK BOOGEY IS MY REAL NAME: THE TRUTH ABOUT “THE BOOGEYMAN.” Text copyright © 2014 by Chase and Davon Washington. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Ana-Gabriela Stroe. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Bedford House Books, Brooklyn, NY.
Buy Jack the Boogey is My Real Name at Amazon—B&N—Bedford House Books—your local bookstore.
Learn more about Jack the Boogey is My Real Name HERE.
Meet the illustrator, Ana-Gabriela Stroe, at her blogs: http://cargocollective.com/fluffylefluff http://blog.gessato.com/2011/08/05/around-the-world-with-ana-gabriela/
Ana-Gabriela Stroe’s portfolio: http://www.dailyinspiration.nl/the-portfolio-of-ana-gabriela-stroe/