Saturday, October 19, 2013

REVIEW: "Sir Stan the Bogeyman" - by Stacey Morrell (Virtual Book Tour Cafe

"Do dark places bother you?
The space under your bed…
The closet, door slightly ajar…
Do you believe in the Boogey Man?
Who is he?
Where did he come from?
What does he want?
Maybe he has a story to tell,
And we should listen."

Sir Stan the Bogeyman
by Stacie Morrell
Illustrated by Elizabeth Berg

Genre: Children's Picture Book

Publisher: Self-Published at CreateSpace
Release Date: September 1, 2013
Amazon - Coming Soon!


Accomplishments: Started a used bookstore for the Friends of the Wilsonville Library, subject of Oregonian article, published in: Antiques and Collectibles Magazine, Bookman’s AB Magazine, Antique Trader, Writer’s Digest (writing clinic), Book Magazine. Started the E-Commerce collectibles department for Goodwill of the Columbia Willamette. Currently pursuing an Associates of Applied Science in Business and Management at Portland Community College, holding a 3.98 GPA, member of Phi Theta Kappa honor society, on Dean’s and President’s List.
Interests: Reading (pretty much anything even the cereal box if nothing else is available), writing (all genres), family (wife and mother), growing in and spreading my faith, learning (information geek), travel (but I rarely ever get to), volunteering, bargain hunting at garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets, etc.
In one sentence, who am I? Stacie Morrell is an eccentrically entertaining neurotic bibliophile who sells collectibles, tries to have patience with her precocious daughter, fearlessly tries to do everything, and writes because she is driven to as part of her genetic composition.
If I could go back and do one thing over: I would have figured out what I wanted from life way before now and gone back to school to get it (much, much sooner than I did).
Parents throughout the world have used stories of terrifying things to get them to behave after dark.  "Behave, or I'll tell the Bogeyman!" "Get away from the water...kustaka is waiting!"  We've all frozen when some unexplained noise assaulted our eardrums after dark.  What if Mom wasn't just pulling my leg?  What if something is coming to pull my leg off!!  But what if those "scary things" have a story?

A child is trying to sleep.  Whilst engaged in this endeavor, a shadow creeps out and begins to weave a sad tale of woe and heartache.  That shadow is non other than the Bogeyman himself.  There is a reason behind his scary history, and in this child he finds a listening ear.  Morrell has here painted a beautiful story speaking to the power of listening to the "scary other's" story, of random acts of kindness, and overcoming fear.  This is a beautiful story, one that I look forward to reading to my child. 

As this is a children's book, I shall also comment on the artwork - it is beautiful!  Now, this is coming out of a personal bias towards appreciating anything that has a hand-drawn air to it (too many things are created on computers), but I loved the art.  Colorful, bright, engaging.

In short, I rate this book a 4 out of 5!!

The Good
I've read hundreds of children's books, first as a child who was told by her school's librarian that they didn't "have any more books that you haven't read!" and now as mother to a ManCub who constantly hands Momma and Daddy books to read.  This may be one of five books that have ever dared to peer into the history of a scary figure, to figure out the why behind the what.  

Every scary figure has a story.  Everything has a history.  

Even the Bogeyman.

Every day I remind people that they "don't know the story" of the person who just cut them off in traffic, or hollered at them in the grocery line, or or or [insert nasty behavior here].  Perhaps they've had a bad day.  Maybe they just got news their father died and unexpressed grief is coming out in nasty behavior.  Maybe their parents were less than ideal and they truly don't know another way of being.  We simply don't generally know.   (Example: people give me goofy looks in restaurants when I make a fuss to my husband about which side of the table/booth my butt lands on...I have to be on the side that feels right...if only those casting goofy looks knew the story behind why).  

Generations of children have feared the Bogeyman.  He'll come out of the closet and grab them, stealing them away from loving parents to some unknown fate.  He'll scare them to death.  He'll....whatever.  : )  We fear that which we do not know, but what if we take the time to get to know something?

This is the question that Morrell explores with children in this book.  What happens when you actually take the time to get to know something?  A child is confronted by the object of centuries of fear.  The child is, of course, fearful.  Yet that child sits and listens to the Bogeyman's story.  How did he become the Bogeyman?  What the child finds out might just surprise you.

I really enjoyed this book, truly.  Looking at it through the eyes of a mother critiquing literature that may be presented to her child (...and suddenly the Kix commercials where Mom's reaction is described separately from child's reaction are running through my head...kid tested, mother approved), I love the moral of the story.  Listen.  There is so much power in just listening to the story of the unknown other.  I love the pictures - they are bright and engaging enough for young and old eyes alike.  I love the overall feel of the book.  Way to go!

Looking at the book through the eyes of one who used-to-be-a-child-is-trained-in-early-childhood-development-etc, it least mostly.  =)  There is the exact right amount of text per page/picture.  It is fun to look at and to read.

Looking at the book through the eyes of a human who is constantly encouraging others to listen - I adore this work!  

The Bugly (bad/ugly)
Just because this is a wonderful children's book did not mean it escaped my nitpicky brain.

First, this book is written in a poem format. This is not a bugly!  What is a bugly about this is that the meter skips in a few places and made me halt while reading.  Although, the literary critique person within myself wants to put this entire work into a Word document and examine the meter hiccups to determine if they contain some deeper meaning.

Second, the witch looks like someone from Snow White.

Third, I don't like the "mistake" that doomed the Bogeyman to his fate.  In the grand scheme of things, it was rather minor.  Adult over-reaction much?!  It worries me that this plays into a "children must be perfect or the world will fall out of its typical axial rotation and the dinosaurs will rule the earth and toys will come alive and all will be doom".  Kids can make mistakes, it is okay.  I just wish the "mistake" here had been something a little bigger to justify the outcome.  I am always telling parents to expect a "good try" from their children, not perfection (I work in mental health and ministry with kids and their families).

Fourth, though the text to picture ratio is expertly handled, sometimes that text hides within the picture a little too much.  Dark text sits atop a dark color, making it hard to see in some cases.  Also, the text could be bigger, considering the little eyes which are its intended audience.

That all being said, this is a a wonderful book that I have every intention of reading to ManCub when he is older.  The moral importance of the story outweighs my quibbles with style, leading to a wonderful score.  Love this book!!



  1. Thank you so much for your helpful and entertaining review. It was wonderful.

  2. :) You are welcome!! I really enjoyed your book!!