- Creepy Carrots!
"Jasper Rabbit had a passion for carrots. And the carrots that grew in Crackenhopper Field were the best." Young Jasper has therefore developed the habit of snatching carrots out of the field whenever he passes by it on the way to school, to baseball, to wherever. But then something strange happens: the carrots begin to follow him wherever he goes, lurking in the dark corners at night (he hears "terrible, carroty breathing") and disappearing before they can be seen by anyone else. What's a carrot-stalked bunny to do? The book neatly balances menace and absurdity in this strange tale of vegetable stalking, playing up the contrast between the genuinely spooky elements and the unassuming threat. There's a little bit of a logical strain in the resolution—Jasper fences in the carrots so they can't get out, which is exactly what the carrots, who don't want him to get in, wished—but it's still a clever and comedic final turn. Glossy black borders and smudgy pencil outlines lightened only [End Page 110] by paler gray and set off by the orange of the carrots (or carroty-colored lookalikes) provide a smoky Halloween flavor to Brown's nocturnal art, and the scenes are dense with creepy silhouettes and foreboding shadows. Brown meticulously controls his compositions and balances his spreads, often paralleling or mirroring verso and recto or tidily subdividing pages into panels. This would make a lively partner to Speed's Brave Potatoes (BCCB 6/00), and it'll turn a Halloween storytime into a vegan's nightmare.