AUTHOR: Patricia C. McKissack and Onawumi Jean Moss
ILLUSTRATOR: Kyrsten Brooker
Publisher: Atheneum
Year: 2005
Word Count: 1541
Category: Fiction

Summary: Home alone with a stomachache while the family works in the fields, a young girl faces up to the horrifying Boo Hag that her brother warned her about.

14:14 Picture Book Challenge sponsored by Christie Wild Blogspot
I love a great story, and this one delivers. So what the word count is 1541. I say it time and time again, “Stories can be told in 500-600 words. But great stories should be told in as many words needed to get the message across, and 1541-words did justice.”

The story was perfect for me to analyze ELEMENT #3 ~ PLOT. This story has a clear beginning, middle, and end. The first sentence started:

“Oooo-Wee!” Precious had been up all night with a stomachache. Since it was corn planting time, every hand was in the fields. “Got no choice but to leave you here,” Mama said. “Now remember, don’t let nothing and nobody in this house not even me cause I have a key.”

I love the dialogue. I love reading it and immediate the words flow out of my house with a southern twang 😀 The plot continues, after the mother left, the brother pulled her to the side to give her some more advice.
“Be sure to mind Mamma, now. ‘Cause if you let somebody in, you never know. It just might be Pruella the Boo Hag.”

Pruella the Boo Hag lives on the prairie. According to the brother, “she’s tricky and scary and she tries to make you disobey yo’mama.” I LOVE THIS LINE, BRILLIANT 😀

So of course Pruella shows up, not once, not twice, but three times. Each time, Precious outwits her. The illustration shows how the Boo Hag changes forms as she tried to con Precious. For me the best part was Boo Hag tried once more by turning into a shiny penny. Precious went outside and picked the penny up, but as she was about to enter the house, she noticed the penny had George Washington instead of Abraham Lincoln and she tossed the penny away.

I love the plot and the subtle theme of if you do what you are told, you will always be safe. I loved this book.



  1. Yet another great sounding story. Looks like you could have looked at the Element of Dialogue, too, since it evokes such a strong sense of place. I agree with you about the longer stories, although I tend to favour mine under 1000 words (especially for the 2-year-olds).
    Will definitely be putting this on my ‘to-read’ list.

  2. Sounds like such a great book. Could probably be used to learn ALL the story elements. Just from your sharing it above, I noticed dialogue, patterns, word play, and theme. Theme and dialogue probably being the larger ones, right on up there with plot. I forgot to say that voice is like a sub-element of dialogue. It’s included in the dialogue element. And this book definitely has VOICE!

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