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Reviewed by:
  • Where's My Mummy?
  • Deborah Stevenson
Crimi, Carolyn; Where's My Mummy?; illus. by John Manders. Candlewick, 2008; [30p] ISBN 978-0-7636-3196-3 $15.99 Reviewed from galleys R 4-6 yrs

Even little horrors have bedtime issues: Little Baby Mummy begs Big Mama Mummy for one more game of Hide and Shriek, but when he darts off into the graveyard, he can't find his mother. What he can find is a sequence of monsters, each heralded by a creepy, scary noise ("Clank clink clank/ Woo boo woo/ Clank clink CLOO") and revealed by a page turn; however, these monsters are the neighborly sort, well acquainted with the Mummy clan and preparing to hit the hay themselves, and they simply shoo Little Baby Mummy off to bed. LBM finally yelps for his mother when he encounters something really frightening—a mouse—and Mummy Mummy takes him home and tucks him in for cozy night's sleep. The ironic reveal of LBM's truly feared critter doesn't have the comic impact it really needs after such a buildup, but the book does a nice job of setting up the encounter arcs with the scary monsters who aren't so scary, and the additional detail that they're doing bedtime prep themselves (prep that mother and son mummies themselves follow once they get home) adds to the absurd yet homey flavor. The gouache art is broadly comedic, with opaque pigments and touches of loud color ensuring that the chills remain jokey rather than sinister. Little Baby Mummy is a compact roundheaded dude whose beady eyes, facial bandage position, and body language are so expressive as to make viewers forget he's essentially got no face. There's obvious Halloween potential here, but there are plenty of kids who'd year-round rather head off to dreamland with a cool mummy than a cuddly critter, and they'll appreciate this monstrous bedtime story.



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